Running With the Big Dogs

About a week and a half ago I was called into my editor’s office.

I don’t know what it is about authority figures, but I always assume the worst. I thought back on the days events searching my memories for anything that would lend itself need for a talking to.

I came up empty, but still walked in with that feeling of doom.

My editor told me to sit and asked, “Are you ready to run with the big dogs?”

The feeling of fear went away but was quickly replaced with confusion. I answered, “… maybe?” and my editor laughed.

He explained that the court reporter, who is also the paper’s investigative reporter was working on a murder trial that had just started but also needed for some investigative work.

He said the reporter would be taken off the court proceedings, which our publisher made clear he wanted full coverage of, and I was asked if I could step up and cover the court.

Um, YEAH!

The catch — why is there always a catch?— was that I would have to test out live blogging from the court proceedings. That meant along with wrapping my brain around the court lingo and taking notes for my daily paper I would need to blog about what was happening as it was happening.

The pressure was on.

My first morning heading to the courtroom I was in panic mode. I had an overwhelming feeling that the load I had just been handed, the load that I felt was my chance to prove myself, was not going to go well.

I prayed my entire commute that God would give me the ability to get through this, and to get through it well.

He answers prayers — Know that.

What was supposed to be two days of substitute court reporting turned into almost two weeks and me getting to report until the bitter end.

I saw everything from crime scene photos, expert witness testimonies and even the defendant’s testimony.

In the end, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in jail for the 20-year-old crime of shooting his wife to death.

While the murderer’s brother may have yelled at me, I know I did a good job.

When I came in the next week, the newspapers’ “Heaping Cup of Awesomeness,” which is what we give to workers who excel that week, was on my desk with a bag of Real Bacon Bits (yum!).

Early in the morning, the publisher came in and told me I did a great job and my editor called me a “trailblazer.”

The hope is that this won’t be the last time you see me in the press box, but the first of many.

Read all about it:

Ates denies killing wife

Defendant grilled on the witness stand

Ates found guilty

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