First Day First Story

I actually slept last night. I got up at 5:55 in the morning and I felt well rested. It was weird. I left 40 minutes early, which I’m glad I did.

I got to the Chronicle with time to text and tweet before I had to actually walk in the door.

The building is old, but that’s okay. It’s not as cold as I thought it was going to be. It’s loud. It doesn’t have any crazy smells.

The four reporters, myself included, sit next to each other in a cluster of four. Our editors sit on the side of us. Writing, editing and layout of stories happen all in the same 10 feet. It’s amazing.

I have a desk. My own desk. My computer is as old as my college sophomore brother, but it works. The staff is getting a new phone system tomorrow. I’ll have to do my voice mail message tomorrow morning with everyone else, as a part of the staff.

We have a scanner above our heads that distracts us every time someone talks. I won’t tell you what I heard today. It wasn’t for the feint of heart. It’s sometimes annoying, but for me the more noise the better. It’s comforting for me. I can listen to it or tune it out. I can’t explain it better than that.

I didn’t think that I would have had much to do today, on my first day, but I was wrong. Mike, my editor, came up to  me before I could sit down and handed me two stories. This one (First Clip) I finished in the morning before deadline.The Chronicle’s deadline in the morning is 10:30 a.m. for reporters and 11 a.m. for editors. I gave Mike my story around 10:45 a.m. The second I started while I was waiting for sources from the first story to call me back. I got pretty far. That one will be in tomorrow’s paper and is actually pretty interesting.

The event itself is on Friday, which I am covering, but he wanted it as an advance so that people could donate more presents. It was a nice, easy story for me. I loved writing it, but it was also a pain in the ass. I couldn’t get a hold of the event organizers themselves. I called their houses and their cell phones. I finally got a hold of one of them, but she was at work and couldn’t talk. I used the director of human services and it ended up being okay.

Of course, my lead wasn’t the best, but I watched Mike edit my story and we both caught some little things that I missed. He liked the story, even though it was a little past deadline. I think I got a pass for my first day, but it wasn’t easy. I don’t know how many times I called each person. Is there a limit on how many voice mails you can leave someone?

After I finished the story for deadline, I kept working on the other story he gave me. While working on that, Mike came over and gave me a brief, which I finished, and another story that he wants by Friday. A woman, I didn’t catch her name, came over and handed me the day’s news and sports pages. I didn’t know I was going to be on the front page my first day. It was nothing short of awesome. Almost as good as that was seeing the presses turn on and print the day’s paper. I had never seen it in person before and it really is something that you have to see. It’s loud as all hell, but, for me, worth it.

I don’t know if he was testing me with the first story or not, but he has no problem handing me stories as he sees fit. I think that shows that he has confidence in me and knows I can handle it. I know I can and I’m really excited to prove to him that I can do it.

All the reporters and editors were nice to me. I don’t know everyone’s name yet, but they all made me feel welcome. We joked about Romney, made fun of Bachmann and wondered if there would be a recall in Iowa. It was nice to hear reporters talk smack again. I felt welcome. I can see myself driving to work everyday and be excited to be there. I may have to start drinking coffee, though.

After deadline a man approached me and said, “I don’t know who you are, but shake my hand.” Scared out of my mind and silently freaking out I shook his hand and said my name was Jon. As I shook his hand the man said, “Hi, I own this place.” It was the Chronicle’s publisher Kevin Crosbie.

Overall, I think today was a huge success and I don’t think I could have asked for a better first day.

Best part of my day was seeing “BY Jonathan Stankiewicz- Chronicle Staff Writer.”

-Jon

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4 Responses to First Day First Story

  1. Congrats on a busy and successful first day! I tip my hat to you for making the front page from the start. Nicely done.

    Also, I think I’m going to have to start drinking coffee as well.

  2. Thanks! Means a lot. I’m just glad I had things to do.

    I hope my computer is faster tomorrow.

    What did you do today/What are you doing tomorrow?

    -Jon

  3. what a great feeling to be a part of the process from start to finish – right down to seeing the presses print your name on the front page! Congrats!

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