I feel better about the world. Less bitter.
I think it has to do with the fact that one, the Starbucks on campus opened, and two, because I was in Las Vegas for a few days, it felt like I actually got some rest. I slept for seven hours last night, showered this morning and am currently drinking my caramel macchiato.
Yeah, I'm content. A slight break was all I really needed.
I feel better about the world. Less bitter.
Maybe being in Las Vegas is what inspires me to post on this blog, because that seems to be all I really feel like doing lately.
All I can really think about is how I used to think one story a week was tough, because in high school, two stories a month was "a lot of work."
And so now, I am laughing at my former self.
I need to get some sleep. There'll be a caramel macchiato with my name on it in good ol' F20 tomorrow morning.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:36 AM
So I'm home in Las Vegas to cover the Board of Regents meeting, and I've been home for about four hours.
And after sitting around and talking with my dad for a while, I realized (like usual) that my dad is amazing, and that I am very lucky to have him for a father.
I need someone like my dad for a billion different reasons. And because lists seem to be my thing lately, here are a few:
- I am like my mother, and only someone with my dad's temperament could possibly handle being married to me.
- My dad is a great listener.
- He is also very forthcoming with problems. He doesn't hide what's wrong.
- He tells stories.
- He likes a good romantic comedy.
- He's a complete family guy (der).
- And while he's not necessarily a romantic, my mom's gotten roses for Christmas, Valentine's, her birthday and Mother's Day for years.
- My dad used to be the typical guy. My dad was the frat boy who partied all the time. He shows that men can change and mature. They really can. He also tells me that all men are assholes, even the nice ones, no matter what I think.
So in short, I love my dad. I hope that I'll find someone like him.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:15 AM
Mine is dead at the moment.
And I have no idea why. It just fell apart. Literally. The button popped out, the screen is barely attached...
I hate flip phones, because they have nothing but a pain in the ass since I've turned 16.
This is the timeline of my life in cell phone years:
2002 - Get a cell for the first time. One of those really fat Nokias where you interchange the cover. This phone lasts me until I'm 16.
August 2004 - Finally get a new phone when I switch providers from AT&T to Sprint.
April 2005 - This phone dies because I drop it in the ocean. Yes, I dropped my cell phone in the Atlantic Ocean.
November 2005 - The phone falls out of my pocket while I'm dancing, and the screen cracks, but the phone still works. I use this phone until Christmas, and call a variety of the wrong people because I can't see who I'm calling.
January 2006 - New phone. Because the previous model was discontinued, I get the latest version.
August 2006 - Another new phone because my contract with Sprint ended, and I switched to T-Mobile because of the free long distance.
May 2007 - Because the phone started to slowly die over the second semester of my freshman year, I went home and got yet another cell phone - the phone that decided to die this morning.
I have the absolute worst luck when it comes to phones.
And sadly, I depend on my phones so much that despite the crappiness of the situation, I need to get a new one as soon as possible.
It's one of those days where I completely hate technology.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:35 PM
These are the details of my life right now:
- I do not sleep enough.
- I live at the Sagebrush office and spend more time there than I do in the room that I pay to live in or with people used to see me on a regular basis.
- I have yet to write the essay that will decide whether I become a journalism major or not.
- Only God knows why I am not on the mandatory list for attending my J203 lectures.
- I am slowly losing bits of my soul as this year goes on and I become more bitter.
- I think more about newspapers than I do about most of the other aspects of my life.
- I am going to Italy next summer to have a break from journalism and to make sure that this is REALLY what I want to do with my life. I'm pretty sure it is, but I think I need a three-month break from it to make sure.
- I am probably not going to graduate in four years.
- I am not happy.
- I am horrible at parking cars.
- I still need to do laundry.
- I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but at the same time, I do.
- I am officially a workaholic, and yet my shit still doesn't get done on time.
- I skipped going to the homecoming game for no good reason.
- I drink too much coffee.
- I untagged all the photos of myself on Facebook from a certain party.
- I regret my last kiss, mostly because it was definitely not worth it.
- I need to buy my dad a birthday present.
- I need to get out more.
- I need to figure out how to make things better.
- I need to stop making excuses.
- And most importantly, I need to stop sucking. Pronto.
I'm just going to go to bed. I'm going to go to bed, and hopefully, not dream about newspapers.
Ranting by Jessica at 2:32 AM
After reading Annie's blog, I've decided that maybe I'll take up blogging again. I miss blogging and bitching about stuff on the Internet for others to read. I also doubt anyone checks this, so I should be all right.
I won't change the title of the blog, though I suppose I need to redo the header to take out the "summer intern" thing.
So, an update on my life - I am not satisfied with anything at all.
There are good moments here and there, but as a general rule, happiness seems to elude me. It isn't really one thing to blame as much as a whole culmination of my life at this point. I love work and the people there, but at the same time, I could be doing a lot better. Yeah yeah, it's part of the learning process, but I just see all these little things that can be done better. So I'm working on it.
Work has also diminished what little social life I had. I'm working on that too. Much as I love the people I work with, I like seeing people I don't work with too. You know, the people I got to know when I was in high school and the people I met last year. Them. They're nice too.
And on the topic of people, what's dating? I have no idea. I was reminded of what kissing was the other night, but then remembered that it's much more enjoyable when I actually like the person on a deeper level than inebriation. Ahem.
Then there's those things called classes. The bane of my existence, which is ridiculous, because one, I'm a student, and two, I actually like school. Not homework, of course, but learning. I like reading and writing and all that stuff. And now, I barely make it to my classes, and have come to the conclusion that I don't really like my minor. I love music and singing, but choir and voice lessons and sightsinging are killing me because I can't devote the proper time to them. And the one class I really, really, really want to take from the department - History of American Musical Theater - is on Monday nights. Go figure.
So there isn't really a conclusion to all this. That was just a bunch of jumbled thoughts thrown together. I've decided that in order to really figure out why I'm so blah, I need to go somewhere, away from everyone I know, for like 24 hours, and just figure out what I want out of my life, and what I don't want in it. I just really need to think. Things are moving at such a fast pace that I haven't had time to do that since I don't know when.
Maybe I'll have some time after the Board of Regents next week to drive somewhere in Vegas (since I'll actually have my car) and do this.
Until then, I'll just keep on keeping on. Bah, how cliche is that?
Ranting by Jessica at 3:14 AM
I never did do my "I love journalism" at the end of the summer schpiel when I was done with my internship.
But this is the current feeling.
I feel like I suck at my job. Really suck. Like I can't do a thing right. And maybe this is a lack of sleep thing, but it's been going on since I've been back. I can't come up with good ideas. I can't edit critically enough. My writing's crap.
I am in a slump, and I don't know how to get out of it.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:23 PM
"...Bailey traveled on public transit in Detroit, where he had worked at the Detroit Free Press. On board the bus were passengers just staring out the window. The next day, Bailey brought newspapers for them to read, giving one section to one rider and the others to other riders."
The above anecdote is about Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor who was murdered last week while walking to work because he was investigating this business's financial situation.
And I think that it's something I would like to do someday.
The giving the papers out to people on public transit, I mean.
What better way to open their eyes than to place it directly into their hands? They don't have to read it - it would just be giving them the option to.
Maybe the key is to remind them that the option is still available, still exists and is waiting for them to come back to it.
Also, had a nice chat with my editor today about journalism, my future in journalism, how to improve my journalistic skills, and all that jazz. It was nice.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:49 PM
I just wrote the obituary of the man who wrote that song.
After living in all of these places, and doing all this stuff with his life, I wonder how he ended up in Henderson. That's the only question I've got. Too bad there's no one to answer.
Ranting by Jessica at 5:20 PM
I am this close to being done. Five days if you include today.
I'm excited to be done. I'm excited for a vacation. I'm excited to wear jeans and flip flops more often again.
I'm also sad because I like the people I've met here and I like the experiences I've gone through. I like hanging with the other intern and constantly talking to an editor 'cause he sits next to me and making jokes with the other reporters around me. I like having a nice desk and a computer that actually works and doesn't crash/slow down all the time. I like having my own direct line.
But I suppose this will all come back soon enough. Probably not in this office and not with these people, but this atmosphere.
And until then, I'll have a very...lively...bunch to keep me entertained (and pissed off, laughing, etc.).
Sidenote: I finally saw Hairspray. It made me happy, I was dancing in my seat. Officially have a celeb crush on the guy that plays Link Larkin. Sad, I know.
Other note: I have no idea what is going to become of this blog when summer is over. I may be switching my blogging over to a different site.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:41 AM
I just finished reading this novel, "Happiness Sold Separately," by Lolly Winston.
The character development was impeccable. The author did a wonderful job of painting each character's flaws, making each of them so realistic that I can see them in my head. Their hopes, their fears, their needs and loves and wants and guilts - right there on the pages to read.
The plot was decent. It flowed, and I guess that's what matters. The thing is, it doesn't take you anywhere. It felt like it leaves you exactly where you started.
And what just bugged me - the ending. There didn't seem to be an ending, except that it was the last page and the story stopped. Like the book could just keep going after that point. There was no conclusion. The strings were still hanging there at the end, because no one bothered to tie them up.
Thinking about it now, that's exactly how life is. Everything isn't tied together and fixed in the end, and everyone doesn't always have their right place, and you don't really have any conclusion to anything at all, because everything in your life around you can change in a second.
And that fact, even though it annoys me so much because I don't like it when books do that, is what made it a great book.
I'm probably being contradictory right now. Don't think I'd be much of a critic if someone ever offered me that job. I should get to bed now, it's late and I've got work in the morning. Five days left.
Ranting by Jessica at 1:42 AM
Today is Aug. 1.
Nine days until I'm done with my first internship.
Nineteen days until I'm no longer in Vegas.
One month until my birthday.
Got to work half an hour ago because I had to take a final exam at UNLV for my political science class. I think I passed.
I feel bad, because I forgot to look for corrections on something I did yesterday, and I didn't get the chance to call the animal shelter to confirm a photo being taken...
There's no use crying over spilled milk though. I just have to work extra hard on everything else I do for the next week and a half.
I just can't believe it's this close to being over. I'm a little sad, but more relieved than ever. The last break I had besides the weekends was for four days between my last final exam and my first day here. I need some rest.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:32 AM
"I just wanted to thank you for your article on the Art Show that is raising money for Autism. As the father of a child with Autism, ANY exposure is greatly appreciated. Thanks again :-)"
I live for stuff like this. It shows that I'm making a tiny bit of difference for someone out there, and that they appreciate it.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:55 PM
A continuation from my last post about people talking on the Facebook wall about journalism's future.
Just read robert's post. Thanks for saying we're all young and lovely....appreciate it mate, but i'm in my 40s and worked all over the damn shop for the past 25 years. But i'll take the young and lovely.
As for "journalism is dead, long live journalism".... crickey, let's all do the socrates and pass me the freaking hemlock. i'm with the majority on this one--journalism like anything worth doing right must and will evolve. Not to offend any baptists in the crowd, but it's called evolution, baby. The key is making sure that we, as journos, kick the thing in the right direction--a little mix of information and entertainment with a good helping of skepticism and grunt.
Change or die. It really is that simple. We are changing, not dying. Honestly, if you think that this biz is at death's door, then move on because you're not doing it any good; you're dragging it down with you. I will not allow myself to believe, not even for one second, that I'm the pallbearer of an industry.
People will always want to know what is happening in the world or locally. How they receive that will change as technology evolves. But as a member of the British press I am proud to say that we are very much alive and well.
If anything the changes currently underway in the media will create further opportunities for us all. It's going to be hard, but if you enjoy the job then it's worth sticking around.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:36 PM
So I have been putting off writing this story for weeks now. Literally, weeks, because the press release that first spurned it was sent on July 3.
I've essentially ignored the story, working on other ones and other things since there was never a deadline on it anyway.
And now, I've figured it out. It's a basic pets story, and I was trying to do something that had too narrow of a view that I just couldn't (or more like wouldn't) work on.
It's not going to be this hard-hitting piece that will win me the Pulitzer.
But it's something I'll like working on. I feel less like a lazy bum now.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:04 PM
In case you cared.
I thought the book was amazing, and I'm satisfied. Also, because I finished it 18 hours after it was released, I've got no one to talk to about it.
So when you're done, you should tell me, so I can discuss with you.
Also. Wish I wasn't such an idiot and wish I had a certain phone number.
Ranting by Jessica at 6:59 PM
I got Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows within 15 minutes of midnight, because my family waited in line to get wrist bands while I was at work.
I will not be logging onto anything until I'm done, and the only reason my phone will be on is because I have to interview someone tomorrow morning.
Also, I met the most amazing guy in line, and talked to him for two and a half hours. Sadly, I don't think I'm ever going to see him again.
Alrighty. I'll probably be on by Sunday at the latest.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:36 AM
Wow, I just got through the "A's" on the list and you're all young and attractive... Wait, this is for young people and young journalists. Two-thirds of you will flame out in the next two years. The ones that succeed will leave the biz within 5 to 10 years because journalism is dying. If you stay in media, you will be generating content to amuse the masses, not inform them. As our society collapses, people will tire of bummer news. They will be in full denial and will only buy or view what tickles them. And with that, I wish you all the best!
Hey Robert, I don't think journalism is dying - but it is evolving. Yes, large dailies are having major issues and they need to make changes - they need to offer people more than just yesterday's news. Newspaper journalists need to start looking for tomorrow's story, to keep things fresh. More in depth, researched pieces about where society is headed (I'm not talking about advancers for the upcoming ice cream festival either).
Small town papers are not in the same spot, because people will always buy them because little Johnny's home run is on the sports page. But they too have to evolve.
We have 24-hour news stations - it will be interesting to see where that goes in the next few years.
I don't think people only want things to amuse themselves (although that never hurts) - in fact, I'd say people are interested in the hard news and want to be informed.
Journalism is changing but I don't think it's dying. The medium of newspapers might be in trouble though.
I completely agree with Kate. Journalism is going through an evolution right now, just as it did when radio and television arrived. It goes too far to say it's dying.
The online medium of journalism is just another way for the news to get out there in a different form. Rather than shunning that possibility, as I've seen many older journalists do, it needs to be embraced. The interactivity lets us use not just words, but images and sounds through photos, videos, podcasts. The story still needs to be told - it's just going to be done in a slightly different way. It's an exciting advent that I look forward to working with.
Also, I intern for a group of weekly community newspapers right now, and their circulation has actually gone up in recent years. So newspapers aren't dying - they just need to learn how to adapt their content to fit their particular audience.
And with that, I am going back to writing my story and finishing my briefs - something I plan on doing for years to come.
I'm post 3, in case you were wondering or hadn't figured it out. These are pulled from the Trust me. I'm a journalist Facebook group's wall.
Ranting by Jessica at 2:29 PM
So I'm writing this story on this nonprofit group working with this gallery to raise funds, and I thought it'd be a good idea to talk to the featured artists who'll have work up at the event.
I thought this artist had an idea of what event he was going to be working at, but he didn't. And when I said my primary focus was the program and that I didn't have anything else to ask him at the moment, he sounded all huffy when he said, "I thought you were going to ask how we became artists, why we did this for the living, why we love art."
After telling him what the story was about, I didn't want to waste his time or mine so i said that wasn't the case, and I'm sorry if he misunderstood. Then he was like, okay, call if you have anything else, and then he hung up up before I could respond.
Ah well. You can't make everyone happy.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:45 AM
J.K. Rowling's response to the early review that the New York Times published two days before the official release date:
"I am staggered that American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time. I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans."
Yes, I read the review, I couldn't help myself. And if you don't want to know the one main point (yes, only one) that I got out of it, don't read it.
So here's the question:
Did the Times cross the line when they decided to publish an early review on a book that was not to be released until July 21 at midnight, as agreed by publishers, booksellers and the author? Was this the wrong move by an overzealous editor?
Or was this the right way to approach the situation, with all the secrecy that has surrounded Rowling's final tale in a series that's held a lot of the world captivated for the past ten years?
I understand where Rowling is coming from, because it's her story to tell and it wasn't done the way she liked it. It revealed a couple of key things to the story, things that I'm not sure I really wanted to know.
And because it was from a legitimate source and not from a random Web site claiming to have spoilers, I'm sure she's all the more livid at their apparent disregard for her fans.
Personally, yeah, I could have done without the review. But at the same time, I think they're making a bigger deal out of it than it is. And this is coming from someone's who's loved this series for seven years, has gone to midnight premieres, visited the fan Web sites and eagerly watched the movies (yeah, I'm a Harry Potter geek, get over it).
So I know what the Deathly Hallows are. So what? All the other references in that review were inferences I made long before I read it anyway.
The way I look at is, it's like a movie trailer. You get a few bits and pieces, and you know it's coming, but you don't know why it's coming or how it happens.
There's still the anticipation. And now that I have a glimpse of what's to come, I want more.
I don't know if that was the Times's intention, but it works for me.
Update: As clarification, I'm not condoning what the Times did. I don't agree with it, and I think they should have waited. But it doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother a lot of other people.
And the Times wrote an op-ed piece in response to the fans' outcry.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:41 PM
Looking at stuff I haven't seen in nearly a year.
I kinda just wanna throw it all away and be done with it.
But I'm sentimental, so I have to go through it all, piece by piece.
This is going to be at least a two-week project and trip down memory lane.
I wonder what I'll find.
Update: Here's what I've found already - the news story I wrote for a Journalism Education Association write off nearly three years ago.
I don't want to read it because I'm sure it's horrid, seeing as how I'd never done a news writing thing in my life beforehand. I thought news writing was boring and that it was all about the inverted pyramid. And I had a rather skewed view of what the inverted pyramid was. But then, I did win an award for it, so maybe it's not that bad...
Ranting by Jessica at 9:59 PM
Had three people say my name one after the other in two minutes.
Am not getting coffee because I am trying to cut back on it.
Am writing a brief on Harry Potter. Though that's not a bad thing.
Need to do my pets story already.
Have at least two other stories to follow up on.
Need to write a research paper for the political science class I'm taking.
Need to sleep more. I cannot emphasize this one enough.
In other news:
Finally saw Harry Potter last night. It wasn't the most amazing movie in the entire [world, but it was good. Really good. I loved how they integrated the Daily Prophet into the scenes to move the story along (of course, I would love something like that). I think it remained true to the heart of the story.
I can't wait until the last book comes out...but I will save my Harry Potter rant for later. I will just sit here at my desk until this public information officer calls me back.
Also, I absolutely love the guys I work with.
Here's a bit of an e-mail conversation to give you an idea.
Guy 1: "Stop the presses. Here's the most important thing we will cover all year.
Who wants it?
[From the beginning of a press release]
LAS VEGAS, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- From legendary headliners to up-and-
coming superstars, Las Vegas has been host to the best in comic talent for
decades, drawing visitors to The Strip to enjoy a good belly laugh."
Guy 2: "DIBS - And I promise I won't use any cheesy 'what happens in Vegas may not
stay in Vegas' lines."
And they buy donuts too. Doughnuts, donuts...I hate that style. Why does it matter?
Ranting by Jessica at 8:45 AM
So I was glancing through the Nevada News link on the university's Web site, and this story popped up.
And I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, except for the fact that while I was reading through said story, it read very similarly to one that I wrote on the same topic. Not word for word, mind you, but pretty close. Mine was printed about a week before this particular story came out.
The only difference that I could really see was the quotes. And even then, they sounded alike too.
Maybe there are only so many ways to write a story, but it felt a little fishy to me.
Whatever. I guess it doesn't matter four months later. But it still bugs me. Just a bit.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:49 AM
Bought five books and two magazines.
- The Historian
- Love Walked In
- Suite Francaise
- Happiness Sold Separately
- Queen of Babble
My pile of books to read has grown once more.
I should make more time to read these books, but I never seem to get around to it.
I'm still only a few chapters into "Middlesex" even though I got it a month ago.
I remember the days when I would just read and read and read, getting lost in the plots and becoming involved with the characters. I guess I didn't have much else to do.
And now, picking up a book is a luxury, one that I don't get to indulge in all that often anymore. I wonder why.
Maybe I've become too busy for my own good.
Well, at the very least, I'll have the seventh Harry Potter book done in a week's time. I can promise myself that much.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:28 PM
I can't wait until school starts again, when the max amount of briefs I write will be four briefs a week, maybe 15 inches long at most.
Until then, it's been more like 80 inches each week because of the various editions.
At least I'm getting better at writing tighter and finding the most important information in the five billion press releases I read each week.
Every time I am all set to go, "I hate doing this," I realize how everything they have me do is to help me get better. Yes, I get headaches from talking to the copy editor. Yes, I am tired of writing briefs nearly every single day.
But the copy editor forces me to double check what I do, learn from my mistakes and get better at AP style.
The briefs do exactly what I said earlier, and they also make me learn how to deal with PR people and understand why length is so important.
So with that nice epiphany, I am not going to complain. I am just going to go back writing my 80 inches of briefs and remind myself that it does matter after all.
Random note: The 2007 AP stylebooks have pretty covers. I want one, but it doesn't make any sense to buy another one when I already have three (2002, 2004 and 2006). I am such a nerd.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:53 AM
To the man who read newspapers every day, magazines every week and books all summer long.
To the man who continued teaching government despite kids not caring about the class.
To the man who cared about what was happening in the world.
To the man who could tell me all I wanted to know about current events in five minutes.
To the man who thought I would pass my AP test.
To the man who said Joe Biden had the mind of a ferret.
To the man who let me out of class to work on the newspaper.
To the man who didn't bother me when I ended up falling asleep in his class.
To the man who ordered venti plain black coffee from Starbucks.
To the man who stopped and talked to me for ten minutes when I visited LVA in May, starting with, "How are you, dear?"
To the man who discussed Time Magazine for the last half hour of class.
To the man who wore a Hawaiian shirt to prom.
To the man who never counted me tardy.
To the man who gave the newspaper money to be published when we didn't have anything left in our account.
To the man who challenged me to form my own opinions about the political scope and not believe what I was told at face value.
To Mr. Jim Akins...
This one's for you.
I know that if there is something that comes after death, you're right there, asking the world what's going on, why it's going on and hoping people wake up and finally see reality.
Thanks for everything.
Ranting by Jessica at 1:23 PM
I miss nicer weather.
I miss the river.
I miss the trees.
I miss walking to the movie theaters.
I miss sleeping until 9 a.m. (sometimes later).
I miss shopping/talking/laughing/dancing/singing with the roomie/best friend.
I miss Jimmy John’s.
I miss Italian sodas with Amy L. after choir.
I miss the Sagebrush.
I miss the boys’ stupid, crazy antics.
I miss production nights.
I miss feeling useful.
I miss being around people who are mostly my age.
I miss free copies of The New York Times.
I miss lying on the grass by the quad.
I miss my chair.
I miss my duckies.
I miss Dreamer’s.
I miss the pretty campus.
I miss his laugh.
I miss playing around on InDesign and Photoshop.
I miss wearing jeans and t-shirts and flip flops all the time.
I miss 3 a.m. Denny’s trips.
I miss going for walks whenever I felt like it.
I miss seeing people at meals.
I miss knowing where everything within walking distance is.
I miss Sushi Pier.
I miss random happenings.
I miss you.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:23 AM
If you are writing a hard news story, get to the point.
Please. Please. Please. Please.
I do not care what the neighbor thought was going on if he didn't even know that the event was taking place. That should not be your damn lede.
And I shouldn't have to reread a story over and over again to piece together the facts. They should be presented in a way where I can pick them out almost instantly.
It's not that it's bad writing. It's just that it's annoying. You're a journalist and a storyteller. Don't give me fluff. Give me facts.
Note to self: pay closer attention to writing to avoid doing exactly what I'm complaining about.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:20 AM
That's right, I am becoming involved in the political process.
"What's this?" you ask. "Jessica cares about what's going on in the world around her?"
Of course I do.
For the political science class I'm taking online, I'm required to write a letter to one of my congressmen about an issue that concerns me.
I racked my brain for ideas, because I wanted the issue to be something I personally had a problem with, not something I just pulled out of my current events hat.
I mean, I could do something generic like rising college costs, the health system, Iraq...but there are 60 other people in this class, all of whom have to write to the same congressmen. I'm sure the topics I named above have already been addressed by one of them.
Besides, I like being original.
So I'm writing to the senator about the Freedom of Information Act and the latest thing around that (basically, that there are still requests from years ago, one before I was born, that still haven't been fulfilled). I feel as a journalist, and as a citizen, that the violation must be addressed, and according to what I've read, the process has been stalled in, lo and behold, the senate (thank you weekly SPJ newsletter for keeping me informed on stuff like this).
I'm trying to make myself not sound like an ass as I write it...more research is inevitable, I think. It's due in about three hours, so I should get on it.
In other news:
My mother's making me watch Oprah. This man is psychologically analyzing why people have clutter (like me). And seriously? I really don't think that it's as deep as they're making it sound. I really don't think that my messiness as a person mean that I have some dark, underlying secret about not being able to let go of my past, etc., etc. But that's just me.
Final draft of the letter
In the latest newsletter from the Society of Professional Journalists, the lead headline read, “FOIA Foibles.” It went on to detail the survey done by the National Security Archive, revealing that requests made because of the Freedom of Information Act are still pending, the oldest from 1987.
Out of the 87 agencies that were reviewed, five of them – the State Department, Air Force, CIA and the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and FBI – reported having pending requests from the last 15 years. Ten agencies misreported their oldest pending requests in their fiscal 2006 Annual Freedom of Information Acts Requests.
The text of the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect in 1967, reads clearly that “failure by an agency to respond in a timely manner to such a request shall be subject to judicial review.”
As a journalism student and a citizen, I feel that a violation of the act inhibits my personal ability to learn more about what happens in the government. With the recent release of the “family jewels,” the CIA files that detail the agency’s secret dealings during the 1960’s and 1970’s, citizens are left to question what could be going on in today’s government. In order for people to make informed decisions when voting during elections and when lobbying the government, they need to understand the entire situation, not just parts of it – which is where the Freedom of Information Act plays its important role.
I am aware that there are bipartisan efforts in Congress to solve some of the problems revealed in the survey, and that these efforts have been stalled in the U.S. Senate, with Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona holding the bill S. 849, which is “to promote accessibility, accountability, and openness in Government.” The U.S. House of Representatives passed its amendments to the Freedom of Information Act with a bipartisan majority. I hope that the Senate will soon be able to do the same, and that you as the Senate Majority Leader will continue to push for the bill’s passage.
In a press release from the National Security Archive, Eric Newton, vice president of the journalism program at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, asked, "Americans once said they had the best open government laws in the world. Is that still true?"
I hope that you will be able to prove it is.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:35 PM
At least, according to one columnist from the University of Utah, anyway.
Who would have thought?
I randomly found this column on UNR newspapers printed in the Daily Utah Chronicle months ago (so this is dated, but bear with me).
I read two issues of The Sagebrush and was surprised to see that it makes Salt Lake City Weekly look like The Church News. No doubt the animosity is mutual.
If you were a student in Reno, which paper would you read: Sex and the City, Savage Nation or ObamaRama? The campus has three student papers and absolutely nothing for moderates to read.
I am sure you can figure out on your own who "Savage Nation" and "ObamaRama" are referring to.
I would never consider the Sagebrush "racy." Just college material. Sometimes, too boring for students to bother reading, truth be told.
My bet is he probably stumbled across the sex column and Booze Hounds.
He also referenced the time Michael Moore came to campus (before my time) and the creation of the Pack Patriot and Nevada Blue.
So his conclusion?
The apathy of U students now gives me hope for the future. I don't want to live in a country where everyone believes his or her political opponents aren't worth working with. I don't want to attend a campus where everyone is screaming at everyone else -- even if it is on the print-soaked rags I love so much.
His embrace of apathy makes me shake my head at his apparent ignorance. Only the people who are willing to take a stand and state their opinions - liberal, conservative, moderate, whatever - are going to make any difference in this world.
Best to realize that in college, not when you're sitting at your desk job at the age of 45, wondering what the hell happened to your life.
For the rest of the article, click here.
Ranting by Jessica at 3:12 AM
With an advertising guy this morning.
I know, I know. Of all the people, someone in advertising...
What can I say? He was cute, and it was early.
In other news:
Am writing story about Mormons. From Norwegians to Mormons in two days. Huh.
Also, I cannot log on to the server, and thus, cannot access a lot of my work. Meh.
Nevermind. Yay help desk.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:27 AM
So I was reading the comments on this article on Yahoo, and apparently, this is what this man thinks is ideal in the perfect woman:
"Ladies - be a go-getter! Girlfriends with which I've fallen in love have all been go-getters. The first time my current gf spent the night she woke up early, cleaned my house and made me breakfast in bed. Since we’ve moved in I enjoy breakfast almost every morning without even having to tell her to cook it! She ALWAYS has dinner ready when I get home. I work long hours and I never hear her complain when I come home late and ask her to reheat my meal. She also goes to the gym on a regular basis (sometimes it takes some strong words to make sure she complies) and always completes the chores I assign her. She isn’t as pretty as a lot of girls, but with her great body (thanks to the diet I’ve assigned her) and her go-get’em attitude she definitely makes up for it. Men: If you find an old fashioned girl like my HOLD ON TO HER. They don’t come along that often!"
Okay. I have no problem with being old-fashioned. I like old-fashioned. And I agree girls should be go-getters.
However, I do not agree with this guy's definition of old-fashioned and go-getter. And if a guy ever "assigned" me anything (unless it was in a professional setting, of course), I'd slap him (or kick him, punch him, etc.) and then it'd be over.
A guy in a relationship isn't supposed to tell me how to run my life or how to do things like an editor or a boss would. A guy in a relationship is supposed to be a partner, who's willing to make compromises. Does the above sound like compromise to you?
No, he's just a controlling bastard who sounds like he has no RESPECT for her (also key). In my opinion, anyway.
Bah. I just had to get that out there, that really made me grumpy.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:54 PM
Stole the idea from Rachel, figured I would update my to-do list from March too.
12-month to-do list (as of March 2007):
--Get a tattoo on my 19th birthday (since that plan failed me on my 18th). Am now unsure if I actually want one. Or, for that matter, what it would be of. Indecision has gotten the best of me.
--Some sort of internship would be nice.
--Save enough money to go to Italy and England next summer. Not happening. Why? Because despite all of my best plans, I am (1) incapable of not shopping and (2) even if I was, there is no way I will be able to save $15,000 (the approximate cost I've come up with). Hello, student loans.
--Another job would probably be my best bet to make the above come true. Except...well, when do I have time for another job? Must look into part time possibilities on campus.
--Road trip. Preferably, to San Francisco, but whatever happens, happens.
--Learn how to play the piano (well).
--Take ballroom dancing classes.
--Learn how to snowboard/ski.
--Read the entirety of the 7th Harry Potter book (and turn off my phone while doing this so people like Robert can't call me and ruin the ending). Still waiting...18 days!
New to the list:
--Create my own Web site.
--Learn enough HTML to do the above.
--Go see "Phantom" in Las Vegas. I have waited a year for this, it's ridiculous. Will by my own ticket if necessary.
--Figure out exactly what I am doing next summer. Must stop being indecisive about Europe.
--Get nothing lower than a C in my classes (preferably, higher than that).
--Officially become a journalism major already.
--Pick a minor.
--Stop obsessing over stupid stuff.
--Get new glasses. Absolutely necessary, only wearing contacts is driving me crazy.
List shall expand. Am considering just making a long list of stuff I need to do in my life in a blog. A few of these things can currently be found on the right part of the screen.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:15 AM
It seems that a lot of journalists use big words and long sentences to make their story sound better.
No, no, no.
It doesn't sound better. It just makes it all clunky and disrupts the flow of the story, making me not want to finish reading said story.
And I would like to know the point of the story sooner. Especially if the lead isn't all that enticing to begin with.
It's amazing what you can learn about yourself and your own habits from reading other people's work.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:38 AM
So I'm trying to think of ideas for the Weekly Update page...and I've basically nixed the How To, mainly because I think it's a pain to think of a new How To every week. There are only so many things that you can explain of how to do it.
Besides, if necessary, How To can become some feature that shows up every once in a while.
Anyway, I am searching for ideas for that page. I have a few I'm toying around with that I've sent to Mike, but I'm open for suggestions. As I told him, I want a page that bursts with nicely and prettily organized information.
Also, tell me if you agree with me that Quote of the Week stays. I personally like Quote of the Week, but it seems Mr. Designer does not.
P.S. Am over last post, the asshole redeemed himself.
Ranting by Jessica at 7:36 PM
Currently trying to figure out how it works.
Appears to be a giant news blog. Cannot figure out who decides what's worthy of being posted - the MySpace admins or the MySpace users. There is a feature that allows the readers to rate the story and comment on it, always good.
Suppose this is a rather good idea, because with this, the news will reach the people who use MySpace and don't bother going to other sites very often...mainly a bunch of high schoolers, but still.
Am unsure of whether I like this or not.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:02 PM
I just spent a few hours telling my brother all of my philosophies on life, from coincidence vs. "everything happens for a reason" to love and soul mates to journalism and its meaning to everyone having stories to religion to life in general.'
I think I've totally thrown the kid for a loop.
Ah well. Something's gotta make him start thinking.
Ranting by Jessica at 4:05 AM
Phone calls are great.
Especially when they are coming from mothers who appreciate the work you've done and the story you've written.
And more importantly, especially since it's not my own mother.
I am scouring for Boulder City briefs right now, because my editor's on vacation, so I must find all this stuff on my own. I have a plan...first, I will finish looking through the city desk and entertainment desk e-mails. Next, I will call all the public information officers in that city. Then I will call the library. Then the community college...wait, sorry, college, they officially change their names...Sunday? I think.
By the end of all of that, I should have twenty inches or so. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Then I need to create the Week in Review file...then I need to find story ideas.
At least it's Friday.
And everyone's stuck on the iPhone right now. Of course. Did you know they did a report on it, and it's cost will amount to the same cost as a Macbook if you have the phone for two years at the cheapest plan? I'd rather have the Macbook.
Anyway, back to work.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:01 AM
If I can't take my coffee break,
My coffee break, my coffee break
If I can't take my coffee break
Something within me dies
Lies down and something within my dies!
If I can't make three daily trips
Where shining shrine benignly drips
And taste cardboard between my lips
Something within me dies
Lies down and something within me dies!
--"Coffee Break" from How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
I just had this moment where I had this vision of the 16-year-old me singing this song in musical theater class and for the showcase. We acted like zombies because of the supposed lack of coffee. That was fun choreography.
Anyway, the point of remembering the song is because I feel kind of like a zombie today because of my own lack of coffee.
Also, I had a dream about the future of journalism last night (yes, I dream about newspapers, it's ridiculous), which I will explain in further detail later on.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:39 AM
I feel rather...well, blank right now.
Writing an obituary on someone who died this morning can do that to you. Because he was this former city official, my editor felt we should get something into this week's edition. So I had to call the other officials he knew and worked with...I had to call the funeral home...
And that was all fine and dandy with me. I can do this. I can make sure I don't get emotionally involved, because I need to be objective.
Then I called the family.
I mean, sure, I was doing my job. But...this man. He died this morning from a heart attack. THIS MORNING. And I called his family hours after it happened.
I understand timeliness and trying to get things as up-to-date as possible. And it's my job to do these things. But this is just one of those personal things for me. I shouldn't have called. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow, but not the day of.
I mean, it's not like I was obtrusive. I tried to be as sensitive as possible. But I actually asked, "How are you today?" out of habit, and the son replied with a kinda bitter laugh, "Not so well, actually."
Forget feeling blank.
I feel horrible. Absolutely horrible, like I am the worst person in the entire world right now.
Ranting by Jessica at 3:10 PM
Lack of sleep, being late, deadlines and no coffee in the breakroom and do that to you. That, and watching your money disappear down the drain...
But I think I am over most of it now. Though I do still need the coffee, I've almost fallen asleep twice while sitting here despite the music blasting on my headphones.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:29 AM
What will be accompanying me home tonight:
My AP stylebook, so I can read it because I'm a nerd like that.
What I am not bringing home with me:
My reporter's notebooks and my story, because I'm not allowed to touch it all weekend because I need to learn how to not work at home and do it at the office under deadline (such are the words of my boss).
Ranting by Jessica at 5:57 PM
The bad points:
-Spending money I know I should save
-Things I buy aren't what I wanted
The good points:
-Things I buy do make up for what I didn't get/accomplish. At least, happy to have them
-Go shopping with best friend and just hang out
-Can usually reuse purchases if they are shoes, clothes, movies, etc.
-Refocus on what's important and realize it's not that big of a deal. Will eventually succeed.
I was going to write an essay for History tonight, but the Web site is down, so I am going to watch "The Holiday," eat ice cream and have a good cry instead.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:16 PM
So while I was driving around with my mother last night, she asked me why on earth would I want to go to Italy and England next summer, since that's what I've decided to do.
Wouldn't it be expensive? Do I have to do it next year? Couldn't I just wait?
And so, I explained to her my reasoning in all of this. She seemed surprised that I had this logical thought process behind it all. You'd think my own mother would know me better.
Anyway, I told her that yeah, it would be too expensive. I'd have to take out loans and hope I got scholarships to help pay for it. But to me, it'd be worth it.
There's this quote that I remember..."Frugality has its own costs, some of which last a lifetime." I don't want to look back and wonder and regret.
If I was to put it off next year, then I'd end up making an excuse and putting it off for another year...and another year...and then I'll have lost the opportunity, because I'll graduate...get a steady job...get married...have kids...
I'd like to have some other experiences before all of that happens.
I was thinking about just doing another internship next summer. But then I realized that I'll be working for the rest of my life. That's the best way I can explain it.
I'll always be working, but I won't always have the chance to go out of the country.
So yeah, instead of working next summer to advance my career and save money for my poor future, I'll be going abroad, spending thousands of dollars I don't have.
And it'll be worth every dime and all the time in the world.
Ranting by Jessica at 2:19 PM
Everyone has a story to tell.
You just have to ask them about it.
Also - what is so hard about my last name? It's three syllables. There are three vowels in it. Two of those vowels are e's. Only one of the vowels is an a. The word in the middle of it is "step." Not "stop" or "stAp." If you want to put an accent in it or whatever, fine, I think that's how they say it in Spain anyway. I just don't see how people butcher it.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:41 AM
A father's despair over money problems at a family-owned skin-care clinic in the East Bay led him to shoot his wife and their two children to death before turning the gun on himself, police said Tuesday.
What a depressing nutgraf.
Okay, so I'm not blindly optimistic. I know this kind of stuff happens in the world. But I just don't understand...I read the rest of the story. They were a happy, laughing family. Appearances aren't ever what they seem. There always so much more going on beneath the surface that most people don't realize.
What's the thought process behind doing something like this? I think Mike said the other day when he was telling me about a 15-year-old who had shot police officers, that there wasn't any thought behind it. And in that case, I guess he was right.
But this man was aware of what he was doing. He left a note for employees at the clinic he and his wife owned, saying they might receive some "bad news." He left behind a note explaining his decisions. According to another SF Chronicle story, one possibility is that "familicide" is caused by someone believing that there's no other way out. It's altruistic to them.
And to think, all this was about money. Money. I hate that money can cause something like this. But you look at other headlines and read other stories, and it comes out - people are willing to kill because of money, whether it's because they want it, or they don't have it, or they don't want to give it away.
What's this world coming to?
Ranting by Jessica at 7:39 AM
For the fifth billionth time in the past two months.
Mondays: 10 a.m. - Econ, noon - Journalism, 1 p.m. - Choir
Tuesdays: 9:30 a.m. - Italian, noon - Core Humanities, 1 p.m. - Choir, 2:30 p.m. - Journalism lab
Wednesdays: 10 a.m. - Econ, 11 a.m. - Core Humanities discussion group, noon - Journalism, 1 p.m. - Choir, 4:30 p.m. - Voice lessons
Thursdays: 9:30 a.m - Italian, noon - Core Humanities, 1 p.m. - Choir
Fridays: 10 a.m. - Econ
The whole "only one class on Friday" thing kinda drives me crazy. But it's better than getting up for an 8 a.m. class twice a week...
My goal is to not overwork myself next semester.
Hahahaha. As soon as I typed that, all I could think was, "Right." In a very sarcastic tone.
And I still hate that choir is only one credit. Grr.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:20 PM
I love even more when the editors like them :-)
What I'm currently working on/following:
• The two little girls who helped create a resolution that passed in Congress
• Shriners Children's Hospital feature
• Education trends in CCSD/job fair
• July 4 celebration for this year-round school
Huh, I just realized everything I do/think about is education-related. Works for me, I like kids.
Also, am completely addicted to the Carrie Underwood CD and the Prince of Egypt soundtrack. Just a random note.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:20 AM
So I've finished my story for the day, and I'm sitting here observing my fellow journalists, all of whom had to sit through this session with a guy from the Washington Post about multimedia journalism and how to apply it to your paper.
And damn, do they all sound so bitter.
"This is something we could never do."
"He basically wants us to give up on thoughtful journalism, pick up a video camera and act like idiots."
"We'd have to double this newsroom to pull that off."
There's one hopeful voice among the crowd.
"It sounds very exciting and informative, and I look forward to the challenge."
So this is now going to tie back into Mike and Annie's thoughts last weeks on this very subject...
It's interesting how one of them thinks this is going to kill his journalism career. He didn't even sit through the entire meeting. Rather, he left early, disgusted with what this "30-year-old know-it-all" had to say. OBVIOUSLY, if you've only studied print journalism, that's all you should have to focus on. OBVIOUSLY, the Web is a bad thing. OBVIOUSLY, he shouldn't care or give a damn about it because this isn't ever going to affect him, and if it does, he's quitting.
Then there's all the people who think it's interesting, but don't think they could possibly pull it off. It would take too much work for any one person to report and figure out how to present the information in a different format.
This is coming from professionals who have worked at various news outlets for years.
And this is what I have to say to them:
Get over it.
Stop whining, you big babies. This isn't going to kill your careers and if you try hard enough, you will be able to pull it off. It's called versatility and flexibility.
The future of journalism is here, and if you don't accept it for what it is, you will be left behind. You'll be thought of as old-fashioned, with no innovation whatsoever. Your protest of this is what will bring the end for you.
Print journalism and online journalism can co-exist. They can enhance one another. They can bring about ways of creating new venues for information that will appeal to both print readers and Web surfers. Multimedia isn't scary - it's interesting, it's exciting, it's a new way to tell a story.
You still want to get the most relevant information to your readers in the fastest way. You still need it to be concise and well-written, well-designed and well-packaged. The packaging just looks different that what you're used to.
The rulebook hasn't changed. It's just expanded.
Newspapers can still and will continue to exist. There's a feeling of ink smearing on your fingers, a feeling of seeing something on a printed page, a feeling of finality, that the Web can't reproduce.
It's not like with new technology, "old" journalism is going out the window. The world still needs people to report and interpret for them. The world still needs journalists to find the stories that will make a difference.
The world still needs you.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:51 PM
So I got bored about half an hour ago, and was on a friend's MySpace, where a quiz asked, "How many of you are there?" You enter your name, and it's based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Apparently, I don't exist.
And because my curiosity was piqued, I tried looking up a few other people and found I wasn't alone in my non-existence.
Then I did something I haven't done in a while - I attempted to google myself. However, I forgot to type the "a" in my last name. I ended up finding a girl who wrote for the Harvard Crimson who has my name without the "a" at the end.
Anyway, that's my random story.
In other news...
1) Went to the Fashion Show Mall today. Miracle of miracles, I didn't buy a thing.
2) Went to Target the other day, and did buy a book. "Middlesex." Won a Pulitzer and was recommended by Oprah. I've read a couple pages so far, seems pretty interesting.
3) Am feeling rather "blah" lately.
4) Need to catch up on history reading. I believe I have a paper due in a week or so.
5) Am fond of the "Next Blog" option at the top of the screen on Blogger. It allows me to randomly come across other people's worlds. But there are a few downsides...blogs come in languages I don't understand, there are people who have the most horrid spelling and grammar in the world and every once in a while, it leads to a porn blog. :-\
Ranting by Jessica at 9:46 PM
I need to keep reminding myself that I have a life.
I need to remember everything I love, and I need to remember to let work be and to not let it consume me.
I love journalism, but it cannot just be about journalism.
What I love besides journalism and anything journalism related:
-talking and hanging out with friends
-writing (songs, stories, etc.)
I have so much I want to do with my life. I do have a life plan, I just worry that sometimes it's too restrictive. I think about internships for next summer, and then I have to remind myself that I'm not doing an internship next summer.
I'm going abroad next year and I cannot reason myself out of it...and funnily enough, I have to reason with myself to do that. I will be working for the rest of my life anyway, and if I want to leave the country, now's as good a time as ever.
And then there's music. My biggest excuse is, "I don't have time for it."
But I do. I just have to make time for it. I may have to force myself to sit down at a piano and learn music and do my vocal exercises. But in the end, I think it's worth it. I really do, even if it feels like torture sometimes. To me, everything worthwhile feels like torture sometimes. That includes journalism, Italian, music, learning...everything.
I can't just be an observer of life.
I need to be a part of it.
Ranting by Jessica at 11:41 PM
I don't have to focus on the calendar, blotter, In the Classroom, Around the Valley, births, obits...the responsibilities have been shifted. I will be doing more writing with briefs and stories, and Courtney (the high school intern) will be doing all the stuff I just listed above.
I'm going to help out, of course, when she needs it.
But this does make me feel better. No more being primarily an editorial assistant! Woohoo!
Ranting by Jessica at 10:57 AM
This link will now allow people to subscribe to online updates of the Greenspun publications.
They're a little behind on the times...okay, a whole lot more than a little...but you give them credit for trying.
I've heard discussions of a Web site from a few of the editors...the new Summerlin managing editor used the phrase "when we have the Web sites up and running" and the old Summerlin manager laughed at him and said, "Knock on wood."
It's just odd, because at the Sagebrush, we're talking about all the interactive multimedia features we're going to have on the site rather than just putting everything from the paper product on the site, and here, the idea of just having content on the Web is just that - an idea.
The contrast between the two publications is interesting, especially considering that we're the college newspaper and they're the professional one. And if I had more time, I would sit here and compare the two more in-depthly. Is in-depthly a word? Oh well.
I think if they got around to hiring a Web team, then they would be just fine. However, I know that they're just hoping to keep staff numbers up too...so for anyone who knows someone looking for another journalism job, let me know, I get an e-mail every other day about positions that are open in this company.
Anyway. I am about to spend my morning searching for briefs. Ain't life grand?
Ranting by Jessica at 9:27 AM
An assignment that requires me to go OUTSIDE of the office and do some real reporting?
Am I dreaming?
I'll be working a late shift on Friday...noon to 9...BUT! I'm going to Boulder City to write a story on this awards banquet.
This excites me beyond words, you have no idea. The prospect of not being at my desk all day besides lunch is just one of the many reasons why I love journalism in the first place.
And now, I finally get to put that into practice at my internship.
Plus, I get free dinner at the banquet.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:29 PM
On the complete set of the "Sex and the City" DVDs...
I know, I know. I was going to save money to pay for insurance and gas in the fall and for my trip abroad next year.
But it was $150. Okay? The entire set for $150. And it came in this pretty case too. I was only going to buy a couple of seasons, but I felt it was a deal.
And this means that when I am bored/depressed/lazy/sappy/etc., I can plop down and watch any of the seasons for whatever mood I'm in.
Besides, that thing typically costs $300. So therefore, I saved money, right?
And even if you think I'm wrong, let me believe.
P.S. I have decided I am waiting for the "grand gesture."
And no, I have no idea what that is.
Update: Today's horoscope - Virgo: Instead of spending money on frivolous items today, buy something that's an investment in your future. It'll pay off in the end.
Huh, it's about 24 hours too late.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:45 PM
It's official, I will be speaking with Congresswoman Shelley Berkley sometime during the next week.
I think I'm going to see what I can do about bumping this story of mine a few weeks ahead, because there's an event going on that deals specifically with it at the end of June.
The story on the bicyclist crash came out to maybe 4 inches. Not a lot happened, it was just a standard write-up. The guy from the public info office at the police department was funny though - after I ran through the info I had to make sure I got it right, he was like, "Yup, the people from the Pulitzer office will be calling you any day now."
He used be a reporter for the Sun.
Good ol' journalistic (AKA cynical and sarcastic) humor.
I'm not so busy today, because of the new intern's help. It's nice not to have ten things to do on my plate.
Also, finally got a copy of the 2006 AP Stylebook. I'm now waiting for my copy of the Sun style guide, then I should be good to go.
P.S. Counting column inches sucks.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:22 PM
The new managing editor is from the Times-News, and he knows Nick and Garrett because he hired both of them. He found out I go to UNR and work for the 'Brush too, and asked me if I knew them. He then proceeded to ask the above question (because I guess Nick put it on his resume).
I told him I just watched, and he said that it sounded like a good stress reliever.
Then he said, "That's quite some school you all come from." A compliment, I'm sure.
P.S. For those of you who don't know, the Apple Poppers is a club started by the Sagebrush guys - they proceed to hit apples with golf clubs and smash them into tiny bits. It usually happens in front of the office and once on the JTSU lawn during the club fair. I tried once, but since I don't know how to swing a golf club, the apple did not "pop" nor did it fly very far (that is why I just watch).
Ranting by Jessica at 3:42 PM
I'm writing a quick story on this bicyclist being hit by a car this morning.
Haven't done this before...I'm trying to think of what questions to ask the police...
Also, there's a new intern. She just finished her junior year at Green Valley High. Seems to be pretty nice. Maybe I have someone else to go out to lunch with now.
Ranting by Jessica at 1:35 PM
-Watch the rest of "You've Got Mail." It's on right now. I love this movie.
-Look up background info on the Shelley Berkley thing so I know what questions to ask.
-Catch up on all of my history reading because the midterm is Wednesday. Why did I want to take summer courses again?
-Haha. Good quote. "Why would you want to meet somebody you're crazy about?" Again, "You've Got Mail" is one of my favorites.
I need to get out of this house for a while. Maybe my lack of a social life when I'm home is self-imposed...oh well.
I was pondering the meaning of journalism yesterday, and eventually, I'll type all of that up and put it on here. But I'll save that for later, I think.
Ranting by Jessica at 10:32 AM
Wouldn't it be nice?
I'd be content to live there for a few months if that's all I could afford. I think it'd well be worth it.
It's times like this when I'm all..."Oooh, big city"...and I wonder what would have happened if I had gone to NYU after all.
I know one thing. I'd be in a huge amount of DEBT. And completely different experiences.
Finances = having to be more realistic about dreams.
Oh well. Maybe someday.
Besides, I don't think I'd trade what I have right now for anything, dysfunctional as it is at times.
Photos courtesy of craigslist.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:03 AM
Alrighty, so today was half crappy and half good.
For the first part of the day, I felt very frustrated, and then I felt like crying because this copy editor (yeah, yeah, same guy I've been complaining about since day one) challenged my ability to juggle my workload and meet deadlines.
I know I shouldn't have taken it personally, but it hurt. My plan was to go and mope about it during my lunch break, but that didn't happen because I never took my lunch break.
Go on and say it now - "Jessica, why the hell didn't you take your lunch break?"
Well, so I could get everything done. This morning, I did birth announcements. Then I got an e-mail from said copy editor telling me that I had to redo In The Classroom because I didn't have enough info for it. But first, I had to get a hold of someone from Cox Communications for a brief. Then I had to scramble for education news briefs and education stuff in general for the Summerlin editions, which is a pain, because one, there aren't that many schools in Summerlin to begin with, and two, summer vacation started yesterday.
This took up the entire morning and into the afternoon.
When I finished that, I had to do the blotter for three different areas in town. Finding the info was easy, formatting it was not. It was icky to figure out exactly how everything should be. And then my computer starts being a pain in the ass by giving me the little rainbow thingy that means it's processing slowly. So I had to restart the computer.
Then once the blotter was done (it's now 3:30 p.m.), I had to work on the Boulder City graduation story. That turned out to be crappy as well, because it turns out whoever sent me the fax forgot the last three or four pages of the program, thus making it impossible for me to finish said story.
Then my editor asked me to count all of the ad space in the newspapers. Each newspaper. 8 newspapers and all of their ad space. Seriously.
And that is where I am left at now.
So what could have possibly made this a good day?
Well, first off, I got a very nice and encouraging text message from Rachel, who saw the thing about me wanting to cry. It made me feel a lot better after dealing with the copy editor.
Next, I pitched a story idea about education job trends in the valley, and tying it in with this job fair going on in a couple weeks. Editor liked the idea, it's now on my budget.
I also got this really cool story assignment about Shelley Berkley and this resolution the House passed about women's suffrage that was started by a couple of kids here in Vegas. I think that'll be a good historical and personal lesson for me.
And finally, I got this phone call from a reader who saw my manga article in the paper. She wanted to ask me more questions about it because she felt very interested after reading it and wanted to send her niece to the event because she (the niece) is an aspiring artist. She then said it was nicely written, and asked how long I had been a reporter.
It just kinda goes back to how people really are out there reading your stories that you thought were insignificant and Mike saying how they do appreciate what you do, you just don't hear from them all that often (see "Quote of the Day").
Anyway, I haven't eaten in 12 hours and I have to set up an Excel worksheet before I head home for my "ad space counting" project. So I'm off.
Ranting by Jessica at 5:32 PM
But whoever it is, bless their soul.
If they have one, anyway.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:25 AM
In terms of how the "media" deal with one another.
1) Company hires a PR firm to do all of their marketing and press relations.
2) PR firm supposedly does that and get paid a lot of money to do that.
3) Firm sends out press releases to the news outlets and never include enough information.
4) News outlets call firms to get the information - firms take all day to find it.
5) News outlets eventually get something out based on the original press release.
6) Advertising people don't appear to do much of anything at all from one side of the newsroom to the other (This was thrown in because I felt I was leaving them out).
Here is how this applied to my life today:
1) A press packet arrives through e-mail, is printed out and handed to me to add to the calendar. This is one of my projects for the day.
2) I go through and add all the information I have to the calendar. This takes an hour.
3) A nitpicky copy editor goes through and finds all of my mistakes and demands more information that was not provided in the first place.
4) I call the PR firm to give me info. Get the answering machine and leave a message.
5) PR firm calls me back, and the woman gives me information on a different event I'm doing.
6) I ask for the calendar information, and she thinks about and says when SHE did the press packets, she ALWAYS included that information.
7) I ask again for the info.
8) She says, "I'll get an intern right on it. It'll be their new project."
I totally know how that intern will feel when they find out about their "project" tomorrow morning, seeing as how it was mine in the first place.
Ranting by Jessica at 5:26 PM
You know those days where you have too much to do, because five billion different people who obviously haven't spoken to one another give you a task?
This is one of those days.
I am taking a two minute break from this to figure it all out.
• Boulder City graduation story. Needs to be done today. Need principal to call me back.
• Henderson Scene corrections. Needs to be done today. Also need to make additions.
• Education briefs for Summerlin. Should have been done three minutes ago, but the press release for one of them is lost.
• In the Classroom for Henderson and Summerlin. Needs to be done today.
• Birth announcements in the northeast part of Summerlin. Needs to be done today.
• Go over story assignment on Shelley Berkeley with the deputy exec editor. He'd like to meet today.
• Pull issues for the Suburban Newspapers contest.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:03 PM
It's in the Arts and Style section of the Henderson editions that came out today.
And if we had an electronic archive, I'd link you to it. But since we don't, here is a copy of the page...I had to open the InDesign file in InCopy, PDF the page, open the PDF with Preview and export it into a JPEG format. Sheesh. I think it's readable.
Oh, and for the record, my computer made the page look funny because it doesn't have half the fonts they use. Click to enlarge, of course.
It's pretty nifty, because underneath my story, you can see my phone number and my e-mail. It makes this desk feel a little more permanent.
Anyway, I need to finish typing lists and then start on this story I have about Boulder City graduates...
Ranting by Jessica at 8:53 AM
So after talking with this girl I work with during lunch the other day, I'm suddenly considering the possibility of grad school. It was a thought that I had in high school, but dismissed when I got to Reno.
And now it's back.
A couple thoughts are floating around in my head...
Everyone has a bachelor's degree, and that's why it doesn't really matter where you get it from.
And I know that it's all about the experience you have that will get you the job.
And it would be horribly expensive.
It's just a thought to consider over the next couple years.
P.S. I think I use the word "so" to begin a lot of my sentences. BUT according to this one editor I was talking to, it means I have a more conversational style when it comes to writing. I can definitely go with that thought process.
Ranting by Jessica at 1:16 AM
So while writing obituaries, I noticed that some of the names seemed to be repeated.
It then dawned on me that two people from the same family died with days of each other.
I don't know these people, and chances are I'll never meet them...but I just feel like sending my own personal condolences to them. I can't imagine what they're going through.
It's like what Ryan, my J102 professor, said - if there's one thing you don't ever want to get wrong in the newspaper, it's an obit. It's that person's last little piece in this world, and something for the families to have.
It just kind of puts everything into perspective.
Ranting by Jessica at 1:24 PM
It's just got all this stuff I want to get rid of...budgets and Post-Its and folders and even an unopened drink...all not mine.
I mean, I am by no means an organized person. However, when it's not my stuff, I'd prefer it to be put away or at least stacked in some sort of nice pile.
However, I have no idea how long I'm going to be at this desk for. I was told I would be the "nomad" for the summer and probably switch computers every couple weeks.
But it bugs me that there's so much random crap that looks pointless to me. The most I can do is organize my stuff, and kinda put all of her stuff on this little shelf (whoever she is, there were three other reporters that sat her before me, one who's working for the Sun now, one who was nominated for some reward and one who got a phone call today and I had to say she doesn't work here anymore).
I think I'll do that tomorrow, first thing.
Update: So it was the last thing I did today, but I did clean it. I've got all my folders fixed, I've got my calendar for June taped to the desk, my map of Vegas on the desk next to my weekly schedule, all of the various colors of Post-It notes lined up, my pens and pencils in this little container, the stuff in the plastic shelves are organized...I didn't get to behind the computer yet, that's for tomorrow morning.
Blah, I sound so anal.
Ranting by Jessica at 5:48 PM
So if you're a stupid philanthropic and educational organization and you keep the meaning of your name "secret" and you don't have any listings for contacting local chapters because "we don't give out names and phone numbers", why the hell would you send out press releases to announce the good deeds you've done?
The one phone number I did have led to a doctor's office answering machine. And when I called the "national chapter," that woman went on about how I can't be calling requesting that kind of information.
I just want to know how they picked people for their scholarships (which they spelled wrong on the press release, by the way).
I feel rather bitter this morning. They have this woman's name in the press release, and I found her in the white pages. Should I call her? Is that too invasive?
I'm going to do the other briefs for now, and if that woman hasn't returned my phone call by the end of it, I will just call the number I do have and ask her to put me in touch with someone. Hope she isn't angry that I found her, like that one time I called a doctor at her house...
Ranting by Jessica at 10:27 AM
I like the editing process.
I like going over stories with an editor. I like knowing that I have a "good story," but that my editor thinks it can be better, and I like working on it to make it better. I also like it when I'm treated like a fellow reporter, not some kid who doesn't know what she's doing.
I dunno, I'm just kinda content right now. The coffee kicked in, the story is done and needs a few organizational revisions (as always with my stories), I got my first paycheck and I think the arts and style editor's a really cool guy.
I have an hour to do corrections, so I'm going to get on that right now.
P.S. The following sentence will probably define my journalism career for the rest of my life - "I hate leads."
Ranting by Jessica at 10:17 AM
1. Get coffee. Lots of coffee.
2. Finish story by 10:15 a.m.
3. Type up the scene list.
4. Finish contest entries.
So random thought before I go crazy. All the sports guys have such nicely organized desks. Same with the copy editors.
Then you get the news reporters and two of the editors, and it's all haphazardous piles of papers and notebooks from there.
One more random thought. You know what really bugs me? When people think I don't know what I'm doing.
"Do you know the numbers rule?"
"You know, it's okay to do double spacing in academia, but in journalism, we don't do that."
No shit, Sherlock. I'm just slightly bitter about that. I know he meant well and all, but it felt like he was talking down to me.
"Poor little intern, she doesn't have a clue what she's doing."
Ranting by Jessica at 8:48 AM
Okay, I need to get my story done today.
Need to, need to, need to.
Will finish any necessary interviews this afternoon. I have two fans, two editors and possibly an artist. And I need to get art from the company. And it needs to be 12 inches long. Do I have enough information to make it 12 inches? Ugh.
I can do this. I'm not going to freak out. I'm just going to finish typing up the scene stuff, then I'm going to do contest entries, then I'm going to do my story. This day is laid out for me.
Gotta be impressed though, no wonder no one stresses horribly over deadline here - they start laying out the pages the day their latest issue comes out.
Update: Okay, I need to clarify this too. Apparently I fail at being clear. Maybe I shouldn't be a journalist after all.
Anyway, when I say they start laying out pages the day their latest issue comes out, I mean they lay out pages for next week's issue for all eight newspapers. So unlike the Sagebrush, where everything is laid out on Sunday and Monday for the most part, they do it all day, every day, and thus, don't run into crazy meltdowns at midnight on production nights (see Mike's blog for further illustration on the meltdowns).
Ranting by Jessica at 8:40 AM
"Why Smart People Do Stupid Things With Money: Overcoming Financial Dysfunction"
Read about it in a press release.
That almost beats this one:
"A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder -- How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-The-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place"
Ranting by Jessica at 4:26 PM
Too bad I'm too busy to go. I need to finish the contest entries that I have on my desk before I eat.
But still, that's pretty nifty. I've been accepted by the other journalists. :-)
And I think I almost have all of their names down now. Kirk, Kate, Jeremy, Frances, Michael, Jeff and Jenny - those are the reporters. I still don't know the guy who sits to my left. Ray is the sports editor, and Tim (who I knew beforehand anyway), Jared, Brent and Jimmy are the sports writers. Craig, Jason and Josh are the copy editors. Then there's another new reporter and a new copy editor whose names I don't remember. And there's Steve, Jean, Nick and John, the other editors.
See! I have almost the entire newsroom down.
And yes, that is how small the staff is. For a place that puts out 8 newspapers a week, I think that's kinda crazy. Ah well. I think there's one person on vacation, too. That's about it.
Anyway. Finishing entries and then getting food.
Update: So it looks like I have to clarify, because Mike was confused and I don't need anyone else being confused.
When I say they print 8 issues a week, I mean 8 different newspapers. The newspapers are weekly, you see, and they all come out to different parts of the valley. There are the Henderson area ones - Henderson Home News, Silverado News, South Valley News, Green Valley News and Boulder City News (yes, Boulder City falls into this category)- and the Summerlin area ones - Summerlin Northeast, Summerlin Southwest and West Valley.
Because they are community newspapers, they focus on all the different communities, and they only have so many reporters to do that with, obviously. A lot of the content is in all of the newspapers, but there's a lot of original stories for each paper too.
The staff named above (and I remembered the other reporter's name, it's Dave) is the entire staff for all these different newspapers. I've also met one photographer so far (Heather, I think). Oh, and Kirk's the arts and style editor, I believe.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:41 PM
When I say the word "budget," a few different things come to mind.
First, I think of the news budget, where everyone is given their story assignments in detail. These don't concern me at the moment since it is summer and all.
And then there's monetary budgets. I came to this conclusion around 3 a.m. - I need to devise a full budget for next year to watch my spending habits. I like the two S's - shopping and Starbucks - a bit too much. So I need to figure out just how much I'm allowed to spend on those two things every month.
So if I set my limit to $100 a month on those two things, knowing me, I would probably spend about $40 of that on Starbucks (two Starbucks runs a week equals about $10, and then multiply that by 4), that leaves a maximum of $60 on other stuff (shopping, movies, all the other things I do that cost money).
The remaining money from my paychecks would go to paying for gas/insurance/food (assuming I finally get a car). I have to figure out just how much insurance is going to cost, and with rising gas prices...well, money will be tight. I'll be a typical college student.
With the money I save over the summer from work, I should have some leeway (is that how you spell that?), though most of it will go into a savings account for my trip abroad to Italy next year -- assuming that those plans don't change.
I think this all sounds reasonable.
And then there's the higher education budget deal that's been going on in the legislature. I guess the legislators have come to a decision about what's going to happen, and a lot of funding is going to K-12, including all-day kindergarten.
Here's what I pulled from the RGJ Web site:
"Although most of the attention was given to the deals for public education, higher education lobbyists also were pleased with the deal.
'We are pleased with the overall agreement that was reached today between the two houses of the Legislature and the governor,' said James T. Richardson of the Nevada Faculty Alliance. 'Especially, we are happy to see restoration of the full 2.5 percent of the merit pay pool, as well as the hold-harmless funding included and the increase in formula funding to 85.5 percent. The support shown for the transfer of the Pahrump service area and the partial support for DRI administration positions is also welcome news.'"
And here's the short graf that was in the RJ about it:
"As part of the agreement, many of the budget cuts made to the Nevada System of Higher Education approved by Assembly Democrats were restored, including a 2.5 percent per year merit pool for professors that had been cut to 2 percent."
And here's the sentence that the Sun had about it:
"Both sides shared credit on more money for higher education."
And because I searched hard enough, here's what I found on the Nevada Appeal site...which I think is a lot more helpful than everything else I've found:
"For higher education, Raggio said, the deal makes the university system whole by restoring the cuts made by Gibbons to reduce spending when revenue estimates were decreased by the Economic Forum. It keeps the increased per-student formula funding proposed by Gibbons and provides more than $50 million in "hold harmless" funding to protect the budgets and programs at campuses where enrollment is below projections. In the case of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, enrollment is actually dropping.
And for professors who rely on the merit pool for increases in pay, the Assembly backed off its attempt to reduce the merit pool percentage from 2.5 percent to 2 percent this biennium only. That would have cut back the amount of money available to reward professors who perform well with a pay raise."
If anyone cares to interpret what this means on a university and community level for me, please do.
Anyway, I need to get to work. Even though part of it is me being in charge of watching the channel 8 news to see if there's an update on this standoff going on in Henderson.
Ranting by Jessica at 9:10 AM
Call back the Tokyopop guy who called my cell phone on the way to work.
Finish this cup of coffee.
Go through the Boulder City issues and start pulling for the contest entries.
• Start working on story that's due on Friday (same day as the contest deadline).
• Call and e-mail the other sources for my story. Maybe I should do this before I start the story.
Get more coffee.
Search for file folders in this office.
Update: Never mind the first one, he called me a minute after I posted this. After the interview was over, I got the time old question: "So how old are you anyway?" And then, "Wow, seriously? You don't sound that young." And then the conversation went on, and I think he was trying to flirt with me. Men.
And I've already been through my first cup of coffee.
Next update: The guys behind me are having an intelligent discussion on the ending of "Heroes" and other television shows. It reminds me of Garrett and Duggie's discussions about movies.
Ranting by Jessica at 8:59 AM
I talked to my dad tonight for a couple of hours. It was a general discussion about everything that was going on in our lives, and everything that's happened.
We used to do this all the time, and I used to hate it.
But not anymore.
You see, I understand why he wanted to do this tonight. My grandma had to go to the hospital earlier today, and might have to get heart surgery tomorrow. It's a scary thing even though it's part of life. And it helps my dad to talk things out, even if we're not talking about the particular subject that's on his mind or mine.
The biggest general theme of what tonight amounted to was that despite all the crap that may or may not have happened, we've got to appreciate what we have right now, and we can't take it for granted. Dad told me stories of the really dumb things he did in high school and college, and he said he understood it was part of life to make mistakes and to learn from them and move on.
He told me he doesn't worry about me as much as he used to.
What I appreciate about my dad is that he is willing and wants to talk about everything. You don't always get people like that, and it's such a pain in the ass. He calls it "opening the lines of communication."
Just a year ago, it drove me crazy that he had to talk like this all the time. I didn't want to talk, I wanted to go out there and just do whatever and not have to deal with discussing what I thought or what I was going through.
I guess I've grown up a little since then.
Update: My grandma's doing better now, she was discharged from the hospital. The good news: there's no blockage in any of her arteries. The bad news: They have no idea what caused her to feel the chest pains and to get all cold.
Ranting by Jessica at 12:29 AM
Man burns books as act of protest
By DAVID TWIDDY, Associated Press Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.
His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.
"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.
The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit for burning.
Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply — estimated at 20,000 books — is exhausted.
"After slogging through the tens of thousands of books we've slogged through, and to accumulate that many and to have people turn you away when you take them somewhere, it's just kind of a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "And it's a good excuse for fun."
Wayne said he has seen fewer customers in recent years as people more often get their information from television or the Internet. He pointed to a 2002 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, that found that less than half of adult respondents reported reading for pleasure, down from almost 57 percent in 1982.
Kansas City has seen the number of used bookstores decline in recent years, and there are few independent bookstores left in town, said Will Leathem, a co-owner of Prospero's Books.
"There are segments of this city where you go to an estate sale and find five TVs and three books," Leathem said.
The idea of burning the books horrified Marcia Trayford, who paid $20 Sunday to carry away an armload of tomes on art, education and music.
"I've been trying to adopt as many books as I could," she said.
Dozens of other people took advantage of the book-burning, searching through the books waiting to go into the flames for last-minute bargains.
Mike Bechtel paid $10 for a stack of books, including an antique collection of children's literature, which he said he'd save for his 4-year-old son.
"I think, given the fact it is a protest of people not reading books, it's the best way to do it," Bechtel said. "(Wayne has) made the point that not reading a book is as good as burning it."
I don't know about you, but this really bothered me when I read it. I understand where he's coming from, and I understand why he's frustrated.
But to burn books? I know it's not quite Fahrenheit 451-esque, but I still can't imagine going to this measure to prove a point.
Ranting by Jessica at 6:22 PM