Becoming a little hypercautious

The second time I tried to use the microfilm at the Journalism school library was definitely not a success. The librarian girl couldn’t even get it to work so she asked me to go to Ellis (the main library). Once I got there though it was infinitely better because the equipment there is so much nicer and works a billion thousand times better.

So I actually got the flood stuff finished in about 40 minutes, and it was actually okay because I learned some stuff about the time when I was only a mere five months old! There were people! And news! And not everyone was a baby. It was nice to feel young and even better to finish working at 5 so I could go on a bike ride on the glorious day. 🙂

Later on at night it was strange because I was riding my bike and I saw a house on Ash Street with a lot of people and caution tape all around it and I thought about getting on my reporter face and going in, but I was wearing my workout clothes and with my boyfriend, Nick. I guess sometimes you just have to be a regular citizen. But it turned out that it was a search related to an ongoing homicide investigation.

It was strange because I feel like working at the Missourian has made me so much more hyperaware of all the crime that happens locally that later that night when I was putting my bike up in my apartment complex in a hallway under the staircase, and Nick was around the corner taking the bike rack off the car I heard a series of shots.

My heart seriously stopped and I slowly walked around the corner and then I saw Nick moving around still fussing with the bike rack and realized my mistake that it was just a bunch of firecrackers going off. Phew. I suppose my dad would be happy though that I’m a little more aware of my surroundings and cautious than I used to be.

Or at least that’s what he told me last time I got scared of an event in the news. After all that stuff in Miami about the guy eating someone’s face because of bath salts, I really flipped out and asked my dad to start leaving the light on for me when I was coming home late at night, because he usually just turned it off when he went to bed. He was glad and said, “good I’m glad you’re finally afraid of something, maybe it will teach you to be a little more cautious.”

Parents have the most twisted logic sometimes.

Falling into reporting.

This week I started work as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian as a class. Though, the term class may be misleading seeing as it’s more a job where we just get paid with a grade rather than money. Because who likes money? Not I! I’ll take the grade any day over money!! Completely kidding.

My editors’ first advice was “dive right in.” Well I can’t say that I actually did that. I think if you would picture it in a swimming metaphor, it would look more like I stood on the diving board and looked down (because I’m terrified of heights) and some smart ass kid who was tired of waiting for their turn came and pushed me in so I kind of performed the pencil dive which looked more like a not too painful, but not very beautiful belly flop. 

I took on a story, which was more of a topic than a story to be honest, of a Memorial Tree/Bench program. Which is proving to be quite a slow topic to move on, due to me relying on a lot of logistical people to get the main part of the story to even just FIND if there is a story there to report on. 

To update any new readers, I just returned from a semester abroad in Italy. When I say “just” I mean literally I came home on June12/13ish *long story that I don’t want to hash out* and had about a week in St. Louis and then moved myself to Columbia Monday to start class on Tuesday. I haven’t read much about culture shock but I think it probably would correlate to a lot of my fears of diving in. 

I spent the past five months not understanding or really being able to communicate completely with the majority of people around me. Yes I could get by and speak bare minimum Italian, but FAR less than the communication abilities I am used to. As a result I sort of lived in my own little bubble there which I occasionally left when I could understand and add something to the fast Italian conversations going on around me.

So going from that to being expected to talk to lots of strangers all the time about things they might not want to talk about was QUITE a change. I spent the better parts of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday pondering my existence as an extrovert and wondering if Italy had changed me to an introvert permanently. This due mostly to my parents obsession with the Myers Briggs Personality exam, which I am labeled an ENTP and my mom is an E but my dad is  an I. So they are in a constant battle to prove which one I really am… E (extrovert) or I (introvert). I take pride in my E rating, and so pondering to admit if I really am an I after all made me feel like a complete failure. 

But then yesterday when I took a handoff on a short brief about the Eliot Battle funeral which allowed me to get something up on the Missourian site (even if it didn’t involve much work or reporting) allowed me to take a deep breath and remember that I really do enjoy the feeling of reporting. 

So although I might not have published anything of substance yet, I know it’s on the way. I am not used to hard “news” reporting. I wanted the Vox beat. I’m just getting back in the swing of things, but I know that I’ll be able to be a hard hitter soon. Although it is hard not to compare myself to others in the newsroom who have already produced several stories, I have to step back and remember that everyone is different and these topics that they are really engaged in just aren’t the topics for me. I don’t have much interest in politics or crime or business reporting, so obviously coming up with ideas for that isn’t going to be as easy for me as a lot of the newsie people in the class. 

I could go on and on about my fears for this class but that would be wasting time and I must get back to work!