A Rivalry in Print

via thesportsquotient.com

via thesportsquotient.com

In the last year I haven’t really had to deal with anyone covering the same beats as me. The towns I cover are quite small, so I never really thought twice about having anyone come into my territory.

Disclaimer: I call it my territory because I’ve invested hundreds of clips, countless meetings and great, reliable relationships, since January 2012. I’ve been ahead on a lot of stories and I’ve covered some big stuff, too. I take pride in my work and the coverage I’ve done for the newspaper on my towns.

Fast forward to today and I have two different newspapers coming into my beats. I don’t think I need to say which papers. I think that’s pretty obvious.

I’m calling it a rivalry because, in my opinion, it can’t be considered anything less. It’s two different towns that I cover, so I’ve already put myself on high alert. I probably don’t need too, since I’m already imbedded into my beats, but I made that decision subconsciously.

I also realized that things haven’t changed in how many meetings I go to, but the prioritization of my stories. It’s a subtle change. I’m keeping a close on the two towns that are being “infiltrated” and I’m playing those stories up a bit more than I normally would. It’s actually a pretty good exercise.

One of the reporters is an intern and the other is a full-fledged, experienced reporter.

In some ways I’m worried. I don’t want to miss any stories. I don’t want to get behind and I don’t want to be “shown up” at all. Several of my editors have said not to worry about it, which means a lot. But I’m still putting myself on a heightened awareness of what’s going on.

I’m mostly excited about this new “rivalry.” It should make me a better writer and set a tone for the other papers to realize that they don’t have a chance. If I’m sounding a bit confident, it’s because I am. This job means the world to me and I’m going to bust my ass for the paper and my editors.

It’s what Kevin would have wanted.

I must say that, as reporters, we have a common goal—to report the news and keep people informed.

Lets see how this goes.


5 Responses to A Rivalry in Print

  1. Karen says:

    Go Red Sox!

    And other than to give you a big thumbs up for including that pic in this post, I’m curious to know your thoughts as a journalist on the goal of news reporters to “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted”? You seem to believe it’s merely to “report the news and keep people informed.”

    • Hey,

      And with the Yankees getting older, I don’t think the sox will be in last place again…. (knock on wood)

      On the quote from Finley Peter Dunne, a humorist, I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about my responsibility in that way. Feature stories are a great tool we have to do that, but it’s not something, at least I feel, journalists look to do on a continual basis.

      I point you here (http://www.poynter.org/archived/ask-dr-ink/1298/afflicting-the-afflicted/).

      I would never say that any of my stories have that type of power because I don’t think they do, human interest features or not.

      That’s a really good question, but one that has never been brought up to me in two internships, five years of college and over a year as full-time reporter.


  2. Hi Jonathan,

    Seeing rival papers does get the adrenaline pumping and I get a bit territorial but Sun Tzu said to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, Jesus said, “I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    That is what I go by. Is this the Coventry story your talking about?


    • Hey! Sorry this is so late. Work’s been pretty busy as of late.

      I get a bit territorial myself. It’s quite frustrating at times.

      It’s not just the Coventry story, but smaller stories out of Lebanon (Bulletin is there now). I just have to be on my game.


  3. Pingback: We Cannot Do Everything | Just Starting Out

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