Tag Archives: journalist

So Long Daily News, and Thanks for All the Fish

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There is no way to put into words what the last five years have been like for me. I came into this newspaper as a young reporter with no clue what she was doing and am coming out a different person.

On March 12, I will be leaving the Daily News’ doors for the last time and will start on a new adventure and out of the news business.

I leave with nothing but respect and love for the newspaper. I hope the community understands what a true gift they have with the Daily News, and I don’t mean the newspaper they get each morning.

Sitting in the building at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Eglin Parkway are some of the finest people I’ve ever met. They have mentored me, fought for me, loved me. They have become a family to me.

To each person at the Daily News, thank you.

Thank you for letting me be a part of your world. Thank you for guiding me when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, which probably can still be said even today. Thank you for inspiring me every day to fight for what I wanted and fight for the readers.

I can’t begin to say how much I will miss you all and our amazing adventures.

In two weeks I will be starting a career outside of everything I’ve known for the past six years. The only career I’ve had, honestly.

To say I will miss it is an understatement.

To all the Daily News readers, thank you for letting me into your homes, in your scrapbooks, on your walls and, for some, into your hearts.

I’ve loved every minute of it.

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Lofty Goals for a Lofty Life

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A little while ago I started to write a list of “lofty goals” that entailed building a shelf for my pulitzer prize, having a pre-written obituary (because only very important people have obituaries written before they are dead), sell a perfume named after me, be stopped anytime I’m in public for my autograph (so annoying, but it’s for the fans).

Today in the grocery store as I hid my head in my ball cap from people I knew from high school I realized my goals may need to change direction.

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I think the goals are looking more like finding a job, living without the parental roommates, being in a place where I’m not embarrassed to run into someone from the past because life is good.

Life’s not terrible now, I know that. I have a roof, I have food, I have employment. But I’ve always wanted more and right now more just doesn’t seem to be coming.

I want to not hide my head under my cap, which was also hiding greasy hair and a no-makeup face.

Now, how to get there and achieve my lofty goals? Angel by Angel perfume hitting stores soon!

Confessions of a Journalist

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I cried on my drive to work today.

Now some of you readers, the few who have been with me for the past couple years, may think this is an every day occurrence because for some unknown reason I’ve chosen to be very honest on this blog.

I promise you, I do not cry every day. I’m not the most emotional person in the world. I don’t even cry during Hallmark commercials. OK, I cry the first time I see them but after that I am strong like a warrior.

Yesterday, I had to get some work done on my car. My 2009 car that when purchased had less than 10 miles on it and that now has almost 140,000 miles on it.

I cried today, and  — since I’m being honest — yesterday, because when I got the bill for my car I realized I would soon be the poorest I’ve ever been in my history of comprehending my finances.

I’ve lived a relatively conservative life spending-wise. Yet, any hope of saving went out the window the second I said, “I think being a journalist is a good idea.”

The truth about this career is that most print journalists are struggling. I know I’ve discussed it ad nauseum here.

But this morning I started practicing my speech to my editor. “I know these are hard times and we’ve discussed my pay before, but I’m hoping you will reconsider and try to find it in the budget to just give me a slight raise …”

I was driving along in the dark at 5 a.m. practicing when the tears began streaming down my face.

No matter what I say, I’m not getting a raise. No matter what I do, how little I spend, I’ll still be on the edge of poverty.

I know there are people out there considering this job and I don’t want to crush dreams but the reality is that most of the time the good parts of this job are outweighed by the fact that I can barely afford groceries let alone the gas it takes just to get to the newspaper.

It’s moments like this that I tell myself to hang onto for the day I say goodbye to the business. I know that when that day comes I’ll have this voice in my head questioning the decision:

“Are you sure you want to do this? You won’t be able to tell people you have this super cool-sounding job anymore or see that by line on the front page. You won’t have this tiny bit of fame you’ve gotten used to. You won’t have adventures that make for excellent conversation later.”

I’m, unfortunately, sure. I can’t keep this up. It’s tearing me apart inside. I hate being the person constantly worrying about their finances, watching everyone have fun and live life while I’m counting pennies.

I don’t want to worry about paying for rent or groceries. I just want to have a little savings and be able to feel safe with my finances.

Is that asking too much?

 

I’m Calling You Out

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When I started this job almost six years ago I was a timid 21-year-old with very little life experience. I was easy to plow over should you want to get your way. I was a pushover.

That, though, was years ago and I’ve added some life experience and work experience to the ole resume.

Since starting out, I’ve been called every name in the book, been told to quit, get a job at McDonald’s and never write another word again. Those comments are easy to write today. Upon receiving them, though, I subsequently went to the bathroom and had a nice little cry before returning to my desk.

Today, I received a snarky comment from a local fire department. That’s right, on my story was a blatantly rude comment from the agency’s own Facebook page.

Back story:

I was given the name of an agency that worked a case by the primary investigators and went on to report that in my story. That agency, however, was not the correct one it was the local fire department.

Instead of calling me, though, they chose to tell me that I was wrong, that I call every day and should have known and said “Angel, thanks for the support” all through Facebook.

The old Angel would have changed the information and never said anything again. The 26-year-old me writing to you now was annoyed that they chose to comment on Facebook rather than call so I could explain what happened.

So I called them.

I spoke with the chief there who wanted to tell me it was a positive comment. I told him I knew better and explained that perhaps, in the future, it would be best just to talk to me so we can work things out as adults.

I’m not unreasonable, but I’m no longer a pushover.

Future journalists — Stand up for yourselves. There’s no need to be rude or disrespectful while doing this but you can certainly explain yourself and ask for a better system to handle whatever problems that may arise in the future.

I guess this whole courage thing is a nice part of growing up in the industry.

Oh Bother

Sometimes life is surreal.

One week I’m talking to people about the death of a beautiful family and the next week I’m looking up into a tree of bears. (Read it!)

I like that.

I like that while I may cry and cry over the sadness of lost lives, I can also have a time were I’m talking to a new homeowner about the unexpected wildlife preserve in his backyard.

Never expect anything to be normal if you become a journalist. Never expect an easy day, or a boring assignment.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that being a reporter means you’re in for a lot of curve balls.

LEAVE ME ALONE

Does anyone else get told what to do in every aspect of their life?

Is it just me?

I can be on the phone, in the midst of asking my questions when a Post-it is hurled at me loaded with questions. Why are you giving me this?

Do I look inept? Do I look perplexed?

NO.

I can ask my own questions. I can do the job I was hired to do. Leave me alone.

Even when I’m not at work I have people breathing down my neck.

If it’s not my landlord griping about fictitious 5-foot-tall grass then it’s my softball coach jogging back with me lecturing me on my entire walk back to the dug out.

Dear Everyone, I don’t care. I don’t care that the grass is more than ¾ of an inch tall. I don’t care that I missed the ball. I don’t care to ask the dumbest questions ever that, for the record, I won’t even be putting in my story — Guess what: It’s MY story.

All around me are other reporters who suck just as much as I do.

But do they get lectured?

No.

All over the field are other players who suck just as much as I do.

Do they get lectured?

No — well, the one guy who makes me look like a champ has deflected a little of the attention, but that’s not a part of this rant.

So, for the love of all that is holy, leave me alone. Let me be. Let me screw up if that’s what is meant to be.

Thank you, Angel

Life and Times of a Working Journalist

Eight hours is a long time.

As someone who is fairly new to the world of working full time I find the whole 40-hour-a-week thing exhausting. It’s a very long time to be in the same place with the same people.

My first job was a part time, four-hour shift, which is typical for teenagers. In college, I worked for the journalism college’s graduate program and worked 15 hours a week as per the agreement with the school.

My first job at the weekly I started out at 40, but to save money I was told I would be working four days a week at 32 hours a week minimum to keep insurance but save money – which was fine with me, the less time there the better.

But now I work a minimum of 40 hours often times getting overtime. You can’t control when news is going to happen. So now I find ways of biding my time, making the hours shorter, well at least feel shorter.

I think the best way to do this is to break down my time in percentages.

A large majority of my time is spent actually working, which I can’t always say for my coworkers. I produce more than anyone else in the newsroom. I’ll give credit to working at the weekly where I had to turn out at least 12 articles in a matter of three or four days.

Now, most reporters get one assignment a day. The thing is I don’t do well with free time.

Less than 2 percent of my time is spent perusing the internet. I just don’t find it that entertaining.

About 8 percent is spent staring at my phone looking to see if I’ve gotten a text or an email and then replying to said messages.

Food is a big one for me, I’ll give it about 20 percent, although most of the time I am eating and working. I just find myself hungry all day long.

I recently started working the 6:30 a.m. shift, which means I eat at 5:30ish when I am commuting to work. Then I have to eat again around 9 a.m. which gets me through to 11 where I’ll eat crackers or another small snack then comes 2 and I’m ready for a big meal with some protein.

By the time I get home at 4:30 I am starving all over again so I eat dinner at the same time as the early birds and snack around 6. I blame the shift I work, although I seem to munch more than anyone else around me – their loss.

Intermittent through the day I also try to stay hydrated, for my health of course.

There’s the coffee that is found in the break room, ice water that causes my my boss’ eardrums to cringe because I love chewing ice and diet coke for that little boost.

Which leads us into at least 15 percent of my time being spent walking to the bathroom, being in the bathroom and walking back from the bathroom.

I’m not gross, promise.

I just have the world’s weakest bladder. It’s been compared to that of a field mouse, but let’s stay focused.

I love the bathroom. It’s a nice getaway. You can go in, do what you got to do then hang out. We have lotion, some smell good stuff, a long mirror – you can’t say that doesn’t sound highly entertaining.

Then there’s chatting.

I am an incredibly chatty person, so sue me. I would say around 10 to 20 percent, depending on the day, is spent talking with my cohorts about nothing related to work – they’re just so fun to talk with.

Now I’ll give my remaining time to work. From getting, reading, highlighting and writing arrest reports and public record to looking up numbers, calling, talking for stories and then the actual writing process.

The oddest thing about me is that what I spend the least amount of time on is the actual writing process. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t rush through and produce pure crap.

If I can start from the very top and work my way down I am pretty speedy. The writing where you add in as information comes is not my strong suit. But for my own stories, once I get that lede it’s all gravy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I spend my time, which I’d say is pretty productive.