Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer at the CP

This summer is the first summer in the last four years that I haven't spent my days on a boat wearing waders. I wasn’t covered in Klamath Lake's algae nor did I use my skill of spotting a sucker amongst hundreds of other fish or try to keep the midges off my lunch.

It is also the first summer ever that I haven't been able to just roll out of bed, put on a hat and a pair of boots and go to work. I have always said that I could never work in an office, but this summer I did and I lived to tell the tale.

My first day of work I remember thinking that maybe I was in a little over my head, but as the summer went on I found that interviewing, writing, taking photos, doing research and fact checking became easier.

I realized that I really will use my ag economics classes, which means the next time I'm in one, I’ll stop saying, “When am I ever going to use this?”

I learned how to avoid a journalistic catastrophe, mostly from other people's stories. For example, always take two pens – or in my case three, because in one instance, two wasn't even enough.

I found that there is plenty that I don't know and there always will be. But, in the meantime I will try to close that gap.

The part I enjoyed most was getting out and talking to people and learning about new subjects. My experiences and education focus on either livestock or fish, which are important, but agriculture encompasses so many disciplines, it's good to know how other industries conduct business.

I have also found that familiarity with agriculture and all those years of sitting around drinking coffee, talking with farmers and ranchers made my job this summer much easier.

Some surprises for me: I never thought I would read so many legal documents. I also never thought I would be covering sexual harassment lawsuits, attend a sentencing for attempted murder, get paid to go to a rodeo or meet a member of the President's cabinet.

One big factor that helped make my experience such a positive one has been the people at the paper. I lacked experience when I started – and I'm still not an expert – but everyone has been helpful and provided the input I needed to improve.

I really appreciated the fact that I had this opportunity to do plenty of writing and learn more about journalism than I ever would in school.

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