– This is from a few scraps of paper I found tucked in one of my journals from shortly after I started working as a reporter covering the North Coast of Tillamook County. I don’t understand all of it, I’m sure I thought I’d remember the cryptic notes to self forever, but no. I truly loved being a reporter and even though I don’t have deadlines every day, I still ask too many questions, eavesdrop over the din of two toddlers and take notes as often as I can. The goal, for me, continues to be to understand others, and in doing so, myself.
Being in the position of choosing what readers need to know from reading my story – until just now I didn’t get that I should read what I write from the reader’s perspective instead of the people who might clip the article.
I believe I’m a good reporter. I care about what it means – I want to be among the best – It’s fun to meet a community this way. In my third month at the Headlight-Herald things are coming full circle – it is tough to remember not to participate. I am curious to know the real work habits of other successful reporters. Successful meaning they enjoy their work most of the time and have healthy contacts – a big exercise in boundaries. In many ways the staff works independently but we are impacted by what each of us do. Integrity is the key, more so than even accuracy because the obvious attachment to accuracy is assumed. Integrity in reporters isn’t as rare as the public image machine declares – but it is essential to my understanding of success as a journalist.
K. gets the award for media mute. And I’m trying not to take it personally- because it isn’t. He didn’t return phone calls before I wrote a single story about Wheeler. It’s strange to be putting myself out there and it feels like the right path for me right now. They suggested it might which is different than saying it would.
It’s also interesting and tough to understand and just ride out the reality that one morning you’ll be thinkin’ you forgot how to write – the next you’re writing one tight lead after another – catching the beat of your own voice – and dancin’.
Thursday – 4 p.m. – check out house?
“I remember leaving the till open at closing – might as well not have the insurance company buy a new cash register too.”
You never know when a big story’s going to break, but you don’t have to be hunched over the scanner waiting for it. So often, they come to you.