Day 3- Three Kings Day Celebration

I was able to sleep in today. It helped a lot. I got into the Chronicle around 11-11:30 a.m. because I wrote everything that I needed to yesterday.

When I picked up the paper when I got to the office I saw that I had another front page story. Mike put the STEAP grants story above the fold. I can’t scan it tonight to put it on my Clips page, but I will have it up first thing tomorrow morning. Be sure to look for it.

I went to the office before the Three Kings Day celebration to collect my thoughts and figure out where I was going. Driving to ECSU, I didn’t realize how big that campus is. I had driven past the school before, but it’s really quite a maze once you get in there.

I got there a half hour early and was glad I did. I walked in the ECSU Sports Center and the place was packed. My heart was going a mile a minute. I was petrified. I was worried that I was going to mess something up. In the back of my head I knew I would be fine, but my nerves always get the best of me.

I had talked to one of the organizers on Wednesday and made sure that I found her first. Alicia Rivera wasn’t hard to find. She was directing people all over the place. I found her, talked to her and asked her to show me around. She said that they had gotten enough presents for the kids! She introduced me to her husband, Arnaldo who is on the town council and is the chairman of Colectivo Mestizal, who organized the event.

Arnaldo gave me a great interview and really helped me to calm my nerves. Our conversation started out with the real “cookie cutter type” stuff, but he seemed to see me relax and I think he relaxed a bit, too. He opened up about his frustration with the big businesses in the town and how they didn’t help out.  Rivera told me that he was excited to have so many politicians there today. I hadn’t seen the schedule of events, but figured he meant town officials.

Boy, was I wrong.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, CT Sec. of State Denise Merrill, and State Senator Donald Williams were in attendance today. I was in shock. I legit freaked out in my head for a bit.

I finally met Windham Mayor Ernest Eldridge, though. Right after I talked to him he went straight to Blumenthal and they had a photo op. It was surreal. Blumenthal spent a lot of time talking to families and kids before he spoke at the podium in front of everyone.

After Blumenthal spoke he walked right up to me. I assume he saw me taking notes the whole time he was talking, but I’ve never really had a conversation with someone that important. He was really nice and an easy interview. He gave me great quotes. I had no idea that I was going to talk to a U.S. senator today. Blumenthal was great and I wonder if he will read my story. I thanked him for talking to me. After I thanked him he looked straight at me and said, “No, thank you, Jon.” After that I felt like a million bucks.

The celebration was great. Kids were running around during the music portion. It was really loud and finding people to talk to was tough because people were going in and out of the gymnasium. The food wasn’t allowed into the big gym so people had to stand in the lobby, eat and then go back in.

I was able to talk to a lot of people, but some people I tried to talk to and couldn’t. I knew that was going to happen. I wish that my Spanish was better. I remembered some small words, but there is no way that I can actually carry an interview. Maybe I need to brush up my Spanish.

It was amazing to see how happy everyone was. The kids showed no signs of worry and the parents seemed relaxed, too. Seeing everyone else having fun was nice and definitely helped me to relax.

I also met one of the Chronicle photographers. Roxanne and I talked for a some of the event. It was nice to talk to someone who had been there before. It was interesting to see that she didn’t use a notebook at all. Roxanne used her notes app on her iPhone to “write” things down. I could never do that. It makes sense for her though.

I was able to get what I needed before everything was over, but I stayed until the end just in case something happened. I wanted to make sure I was thorough.

I got back to the office around 4 p.m. and started work on my story. I had a lot of stuff to go over and took my time. Putting what happened into the story was pretty easy, but putting the quotes in wasn’t. I had plenty of quotes. Picking from all the quotes that I liked was tough.

It took me a little over an hour to write the story. I thought it was going to take me longer, but I surprised myself. The story should be in the paper tomorrow with a bunch of pictures.

So, I covered my first event and I’m still alive. What’s next week going to bring?

-Jon

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4 Responses to Day 3- Three Kings Day Celebration

  1. I used the notes app on the iPhone once for coverage and it actually worked pretty well. I think if you’re adept at typing on your phone, it could be useful. I still prefer a pen and a note pad because relying on technology and only technology is a scary thing!

    • Hey,

      I guess it depends on what kind of event you are covering. I could never do it. I had four pens in my pocket and my notepad. Pens don’t have a battery. I like scribbling notes down better. If I had to I could use my phone, but I’d be looking to steal pen and paper if I could.

      And like you said, relying on technology is mad scary.

      -Jon

  2. I used it for the mayoral debate in Vernon, actually. It was alright. I started a new note for each question/topic. It’s not my preferred method though…not at all.

    • Hey,

      That’s actually not a bad idea, but I write faster than I type. I may not know what it says right away when I got back to write the story, but I figure it out.

      I’d drop it while trying to type. It would be bad.

      -Jon

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