Tag Archives: reporter

Still Here, Still Uncertain

Hey, that's me in my cube!

Hey, that’s me in my cube!

It’s been a while, I know. Life has been chaotic, busy and above all else amazing. I still have days where I’ll see a snippet of news from the paper and wonder what was going on, how everything was being handled and have a rush of jealousy that I won’t get to be a part of that anymore.

I miss that.

But now I’m working in a whole new capacity. Hello, I’m Angel and I am the Social Media Community Manager for a large, Christian non-profit organization.

This is my team - web and social media. They're pretty great and always ready to greet the interns in interesting ways.

This is my team – web and social media. They’re pretty great and always ready to greet the interns in interesting ways.

I knew that this job was going to have challenges because my background is newspaper, not social media and there have been some trials.

Each month my department meets for worship, devotions and in this photo to introduce the newbies!

Each month my department meets for worship, devotions and in this photo to introduce the newbies!

All-in-all, God has put such a blessing on my life with this job, this new location in central Florida and the new friends I have made since moving.

Taking a chance like this, especially being somewhat older than the average person changing careers, was not an easy one. But God was faithful, as He promised He would be.

I’ve found that doing social media full time allows for creativity, taking chances and involves a lot of trial and error. I’ll be honest, there are days when I wonder why I was hired – but to be fair I thought the same thoughts while working at the newspaper.

I’m happy. I’m content. I’m not broke.

I know I made the right decision, but a piece of my heart still aches for the familiar background noise of the scanner. The feel of writing something and knowing it will be read by thousands and the amazing stories I would come home with each day.

But I’m finding a home here. I’m finding where I belong and I’m finding comfort in this career with the knowledge that I serve a far greater purpose.

It’s still a transition, almost three months later, but I have a feeling that’s how life goes. I’m always transitioning whether its with a career, a boy, a diet plan, a new makeup trick, a knew way of thinking.

That’s just how life goes and I’m here for the adventure of it all.

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What is “free” news?

Recently, the Washington Post published a Rachel Maddow column that caught the attention of all of my co-workers, and I’m sure other journalists out there who are continuing to fight the good fight.

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Every day I see people upset about online paywalls and subscription costs citing that news should be free.

Why? Why should you get to read my hard work, my days labor for free while I make just above minimum wage? Why are you OK with paying for cable but not your local newspaper? Why is it OK to pay a toll, give tax on food or spend money on phone apps that make you look fatter than you actually are?

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It’s exhausting to be in this position today. I want my two degrees I worked hard for to pay back, when in reality McDonald’s workers make just $3 less than me. I won’t continue to complain, but please take a minute to read this excerpt:

Most of the time, national news happens out loud: at news conferences, on the floor of Congress, in splashy indictments or court rulings. But sometimes, the most important news starts somewhere more interesting, and it has to be dug up. Our democracy depends on local journalism, whether it’s a beat reporter slogging through yet another underattended local commission meeting, or a state political reporter with enough of an ear to the ground to know where the governor might be when he isn’t where he says he is, or a traffic columnist who’s nobody’s fool.

It’s annoying to pay for information — I know. But if you don’t subscribe to your local paper or pony up to get behind its online paywall, who’s going to pay reporters to cover the news where you live? A free press isn’t that kind of “free.” An accountable democracy doesn’t work without real information, gathered from the ground up, about people in power, everywhere. Be inspired by the beleaguered but unintimidated reporters of Chris Christie’s New Jersey: Whatever your partisan affiliation, or lack thereof, subscribe to your local paper today. It’s an act of civic virtue.

Journalists and Cereal Do Not Mix

cereal

This post will not be brilliant, but I think it will be entertaining never the less. Although, I find myself to be entertaining on a regular basis so I may be biased.

I don’t know why, but not too long ago I was in the mood for cereal for breakfast. But since I wake up and literally roll out the door I just packed my milk, bagged the cereal and went on my way to work.

Most days this breakfast would be fine. I would eat my cereal, read the paper and then start my morning.

But the one day I decide I want cereal there’s a car crash, house fire and missing child.

Now, what is needed for cereal? Yes, that’s right, your hands.

And what is needed for typing up news? Yes, that’s right, your hands.

So I pour my cereal, pour the milk, grab the spoon to dig in and the world implodes.

In the end, I ate mushy cereal 20 minutes later. No one likes mushy cereal. I repeat, no one likes mushy cereal.

cereal2

Moral of the story, cereal is the worst idea for anyone in the newspaper business on duty at the time of consumption. Just say no — eat a Pop-tart instead.

How I Write

Personally, I don’t find the process of writing a news story all that interesting. I believe this is primarily because it’s what I do – literally, all the time. But whenever I tell someone what I do for a living they seem fascinated by the craft. So I thought I’d share how I write.

writing is hard

This story was written about a local author who published a book that took place in one of the towns my newspaper covers. Typically, when I write, I like to get my lede done first.

Fun fact: A “lede” is newspaper speak for the first sentence of the story. The lede is supposed to intrigue the reader and force them to read the second sentence, which is called the “nut graf.” A nut graf is your informational sentence that leads to the rest of the story.

This particular story, though, was not inspiring. In fact, I hated it. Because of this and so many other reasons, there was a slight struggle in my writing process.

Enjoy the show:

The Taylor family was struggling to survive when they decided to risk it all and make the move from Connecticut to Niceville. Once they arrived, the adventures that ensued gripped and tore at the heart strings.

This is lame and I don’t know how to start it.

Help me.

I’m drowning.

OK, here I go.

… um, nothing’s coming … OK, here I go.

Jonathan Gunger spent five years writing about the highs and lows of family life and says that time was well spent as his book “34/4” hits area book stores.

Eh, this isn’t that good either.

Writing a lede is hard. I think I’m going to quit instead of try and write this.

OK, attempt No. 2

In a time when many say the family dynamic is filled with quick answers that cost a lot, Jonathan Gunger is hoping to inspire others on the importance of working through the hard times in his novel based in Niceville.

That sucks.

It sucks really bad.

Dang it.

Rising from the Ashes

harry Potter phoenix

Similar to the phoenix, I am rising from the ashes. That’s right. I’m over being sad.

For the past month, I’ve been sulking, crying and just having an all around hard time with life in general. The main part of this has been my main problem since I graduated from college: career.

For more details, refer to my last, incredibly depressing post.

But no more.

Phoenix harry potter

That’s right, I am not sad any more. Part of that is choice, but most of it is that I know there is a higher purpose in all of this. God has chosen this time in my life to break me, to bring me down so that I can give it all to him.

It may have taken me a month to truly get here, but I am here. I’ve made it to the other side!

Phoenix harry potter

Instead of moping that not one, but two job opportunities have slipped through my fingers because of a terrible economy and a challenging field to work in I am taking this time to revel in what I do have going on.

Things I don’t have:

Money

Stability

Future plans

Things I do have:

A job, which my mom keeps reminding me that this is a rarity and I should feel blessed.

A great support system. To everyone who witnessed me cry over the past month, thank you. I love you. You’re the best.

Hope for a brighter tomorrow. You can only go up when you hit rock bottom.

Long ago I started this blog as a school project. I was told it was important to be a part of the online community if I wanted to get into the field of journalism. It morphed into my career, following the ins and outs of a newbie journalist.

Now, I think its just about honesty.

I’ve had interns come in and tell me their grand plans for the future. I never want to be someone who crushes dreams, but the reality is that this field is hard. It takes thick skin and a tight pocketbook to make it through just a few years.

I’m about to celebrate my fourth anniversary at the Daily News and let me tell you, I’m tired. I’m not sure how career journalists do it for 20-something years.

For me, this is a learning time. I’m learning how to be the best writer and editor I can be. I’m learning how to work with other people. I’m learning who I am and what I stand for in a variety of issues and circumstances.

So to the youth out there, be careful if your dream is to go into this field. You will learn amazing things and have amazing experiences, but it will also break you.

Just be sure to take those broken pieces and make something good of it.

I know I will. What that will be I do not know.

I’m Contemplating Stealing Toilet Paper

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I will not steal toilet paper from my office. I will not stoop that low. I will not.

OK, maybe I will.

Next week I might have to.

I hate my life.

depression

I’m a reporter. I’m a graduate student. I’m single. I’m depressed.

There’s low points in life, everyone has them but I think my life has gone a little more low. Here’s an analogy: You have someone having a rough day sitting on the ground a little dirty, a little sad. Beside them you see a hole. You look down the hole and see me on one of those machines that goes through the sand. I’m about 50 feet down and just getting started.

If you can’t tell, I’m having a hard time.

A job I interviewed for a few months back that I was told would be open in the summer fell through. The next day I got dumped. The following week I was supposed to hear about another job I interviewed for and up to this very moment have heard nothing.

At work, the head of photography yelled at me and someone I interviewed for a story retracted — not rare but enough to make me cry at work in front of other people. So embarrassing.

I forgot to pay my rent check and had to pay an additional $100.

Also, its been raining a lot.

I now cry at the drop of a hat.

Seriously, I cannot stop crying.

My mother told me my ex got the job he’s been really wanting – his dream job so to speak. I told her I was happy for him. When we hung up I yelled a little and then began irrationally crying, then sobbing, then balling.

Life is not going well for me.

My bank account is drained. My debt is through the roof. My life is in the crapper.

Where did I go wrong?

Was it the moment I thought I would not pursue a career in publishing? Was it the moment I took the job at the Daily News? Was it the moment I went back to school thinking all the debt I was acquiring would be worth it because I’d get a new, awesome job?

Or maybe it was all those moments.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m a terrible decision maker.

I think maybe God is testing me. Right now, I’m feeling like a modern day Job.

I feel sorry for Job.

No, I haven’t lost everyone I love in some terrible way and my skin isn’t covered in boils but I am getting puffy eyes from all the crying and my hair is a little greasy because I wasn’t up for showering in between tears last night.

I am so pathetic.

This was a rant so I apologize to anyone who made it this far down in the reading.

There’s nothing more to say. If I think about my life too much more I’ll start crying and I’m around other people so that would be bad.

An Afternoon with Phil

Invasion of Normandy

Invasion of Normandy

I was never a huge history buff in school, but since beginning my work at the Daily News, a community with two major Air Force bases and thousands of veterans, I have come to an understanding that history is one of the most fascinating topics you can find.

What’s more, because of the unique place I work I’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of WWII veterans and each time they amaze me more and more.

There’s something remarkable about that generation.

Perhaps its the fact that they will never tell you they were heroes. They were all just doing their jobs.

Maybe its that they are silent in the feats they accomplished during that time. Silent until some nosy reporter knocks on their door.

For me, it’s the great deal of pride they feel for fighting a war where so many of their comrades died.

Earlier this week I interviewed Phil Hooper. A WWII 101st Airborne Division veteran who fought in the Invasion of Normandy, D-Day, that began June 6, 1944 and lasted six weeks.

Above is Phil Hooper, a retired staff sergeant from the 101st Airborne Division.

Above is Phil Hooper, a retired staff sergeant from the 101st Airborne Division.

Mr. Hooper, 88, has been asked on several occasions by groups around the area if he’ll share his wartime stories. He told me Tuesday that revisiting would be too painful.

Instead, he says he can sit back and answer questions, just a few, so that the history he witnessed is not forgotten.

“You know, when you’re 18 or 19 nothing really goes through your mind. I guess that’s why I wasn’t scared when we were going to Normandy,” Hooper said sitting at his kitchen table, his 101st Airborne Division hat atop his head.

“We knew there was going to be an invasion, but we could have cared less.”

Featured is Phil Hooper when he first joined the war efforts in the early 1940s.

Featured is Phil Hooper when he first joined the war efforts in the early 1940s.

Mr. Hooper told the story of one of the men he rode to France with, a small man in stature with a large pack on when he stepped off the boat.

Invasion of Normandy

Invasion of Normandy

“As soon as he went into the water he just sunk down,” Mr. Hooper said laughing. “That’s when our captain, he was probably taller than 6-foot, put his arm in the water and just hoisted him up.

“Neither of them made it. It was a real shame, they were good guys.”

During the interview, Mr. Hooper told the tales of escaping from France to Holland. Crash landing in Belgium, fighting in the Battle of Bulge.

Mr. Hooper is a hero in every way.