I think they were talking about me.

But I don't want to make any assumptions.

I mean, there are plenty of assistant news editors named Jessica who did R-Jeneration while they were in high school, right?

Yay pressure.

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).



I should read this book.

"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"


Not quite.

I was just invited to lunch.

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.


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.


Today's to-do list.

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.

What two hour-long discussions lead to.

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.


The best way to do it?

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.

Playing around with the layout.

What do you think? Yes, no, maybe? Keep playing around, or go back to the one I had before?


Day off.

Went out last night. Got some ice cream, talked with people I haven't seen in months, went to Pirates 3 at midnight and went to the middle of nowhere and got one of the best views of Las Vegas I've ever seen.

I could tell my dad wanted to give me a lecture when I got home around 3:30 a.m., but he held back. I'd like to think it's because I'm legally an adult now, which I think is part of it, but I think it can also be attributed to the fact that he was snoring in his chair when I got in and was half-asleep when he tried to talk to me.

Well, it's the weekend. I could go out, but I think I'll stay in. Watch some "Sex and the City," read for a bit, take a bubble bath.

It's nice to take a break. I'll think about being responsible later.


Just signed up for an account on Tokyopop.

The "largest manga publisher in America."


The things you do to get a hold of someone to interview.

My user name is "reporter91." I didn't see the point in trying to be too original.

Now I need to call the editor in LA...

Wow. 9 profile views, a fan and a comment already. And it's been 20 minutes.


I never, ever in my life want to be an editorial assistant (which is what I'm basically doing now at the News). Especially if they have to do contest stuff.

The executive editor actually called it "busy work" yesterday. Gee, thanks.

But this is what I've decided. I will always have respect for these people in the future because I understand how much they have to do and appreciate that they do it (even if it is their job).

I can't imagine having to do this for a daily newspaper. Gathering lists from every department, making sure there's are no gaps in the contest year (which means you should have at least three copies of each newspaper...365 times 3...I can't do math, but you get the point), or at least that you have PDFs of each newspaper, making tear sheets for every entry in all 39 (or however many - for NPA, it's 39) categories, not misplacing anything, getting all the entries together to mark, label and put into folder and envelopes, keeping the lists are up-to-date because they constantly change, dealing with reporters who wrote down the wrong dates for their stories...

You'd have to start a month in advance.

Anyway, in other news...

I just spilled coffee on my skirt. Grrr. Of course, it had to be on the white ribbon part...but I don't think you can tell unless you're looking for it.

Oh, and I'm looking for a place to live in Reno come August. If you (for whoever reads this, which I don't think is a lot of people anyway) come across anything, let me know.

Back to contest lists and papers...and I STILL haven't started my story yet.

And I need more coffee.

Update: Went with Janiece to Starbucks and got an iced caramel macchiato. Caffeine should hold until lunch time. Also am now officially out of cash. Good thing today's the final paycheck of the year from the 'Brush.


I know I shouldn't care...

Because I am in Las Vegas, and I don't need to be thinking about what goes on in the student government over the summer.


All I've wanted for the past four weeks are copies of the meeting minutes. Okay? That's it. That was never a problem before.

And all of the sudden, I have to wait and wait and wait for a response.

Then, when I finally get a reply, I am told to go look at the meeting archive. The meeting archive doesn't have anything before May 9 because something funny happened to it, and it wasn't up when I needed it on May 7 (I remember these kinds of things). So when I sent an e-mail back saying that the archives aren't up, the response I got was that I need to go to accounting to get a copy, and the contact information was on the Web site.

I look it up on the Web site. There is NO NUMBER listed for accounting. There isn't an e-mail listed. Nada.

So I called the JTSU to be transferred to the office, and asked the woman to please send me a copy. All she has are paper copies, and I would have to come pick them up. Possible? No, because I am about a 6-8 hour drive away.

I asked to have them mailed to me.

BUT COME ON. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE? All you have to do is go onto a computer and e-mail me the PDF. That's it. That's all. Is that so difficult?

Anyway, the point of this story is, there is a new person on my shit list now. Not a good place to be.


The journalism rant.

Okay, so because I can't fall asleep for whatever crazy reason and because I said I would, here it is...the journalism rant.

So about a post or two ago, I mentioned that my boss asked me, "Why journalism?"

The simple answer is because I have no idea what else I would do. But, again, because I am not all that sleepy, here is the more complicated answer.

I've wanted to a be a journalist for years and years and years - and I'm not kidding. My mom likes to tell the story of when I was little and would sit at a makeshift desk (AKA a box) and pretend I was an anchor telling her the news. It usually consisted of "blah-blah-blah" because to the three-year-old mind, that is what the people are saying on television.

For about a month, I wanted to be a ballerina, until my clumsiness made itself known. I also wanted to be a veterinarian at one point, but I'm allergic to a billion types of fur, so that dream was not meant to be. It always came back to journalism, though I didn't know what that word was yet. It was simply "writing."

I was 8 when I tried to make my first newspaper. Kids News. Aren't I original? That failed because I couldn't make enough copies of the newspaper/newsletter, and my staff was my fellow third-graders who honestly didn't give a damn.

In middle school during 7th grade, I somehow became a newspaper editor. And I think we put out maybe...three issues? Something like that. I had to use some crappy Microsoft program to make the paper, which was like a newsletter with a whole bunch of mistakes in it. Then when I was supposed to take the elective again, the counselors screwed up my schedule and put me Spanish.

And Spanish led to LVA, which gave me the forensics (speech and debate for those of you who don't know) class before it gave me the journalism class. And I had crazy, crazy Medcalf as a journalism advisor, who inspired me to write more and forced me to take stylebook quizzes and fed me bagels.

Throughout high school, I went on a total of four high school journalism convention trips around the country, a number of workshops, became involved with CLASS! Magazine and R-Jeneration...yes, I had no life. But I still remember the first time I saw my byline in each of the publications I was printed in. I was ecstatic. I still get that feeling.

And you'd think after three years of that, I'd be done with it and ready to move on, as so many other people before me had done. But no, I was determined to study journalism in college. All of the colleges I applied to had acclaimed journalism programs/schools. And in the end, I ended up at UNR.

I'm sure you know how it goes from there...starting out at the Nevada Sagebrush as a writer and designer and later on becoming an assistant news editor and staying on for the next year (and most likely, the years after that too). I've been through two "official" journalism classes, and I love it. And now I'm interning at the News, and it's been two days, and that newsroom already feels familiar to me.

If given the choice (and I guess I do have a choice, because it's college and you can change your mind as often as you want), I could give up journalism and do something else with my life.

But honestly? My backup plan, if I fail at being a journalist for whatever reason, is to become a crazy high school journalism advisor who teaches English because she has to, just like Med, and maybe inspire a kid or two to venture out into the field.

So, long story short, why I am/want to be a journalist...

Because I write.

Because I like to learn and watch things as they happen.

Because I like to let people know what's going on.

Because I like to think I can make a difference.

Because it's who I am.

Journalism 102 just became useful.

Yay for writing up briefs on press releases.

Sound familiar to anybody?

P.S. I need a stylebook right now. I'll have to start putting that in my purse before I go to work.

P.S.S. I also really need a notebook right now, but the cabinet's empty. :-(

Wrap up of what happened on Day One.

Not much.

Finished going through those newspapers, got my e-mail account, got my first story assignment, sent out a few e-mails to people I'd need to talk to the story about, went out to lunch with my boss, discussed why I want to be in journalism, went through boxes and boxes of newspapers, searched for editorial cartoons that weren't dated and went home.

I should be making my lunch right now, but I'm not in the mood. I'll just go to Wendy's for lunch or something.

So today, I'll finish going through all the boxes of newspapers, discuss with someone else on what issues are missing and type of the lists of articles people want to submit to NPA.

Did you know there's a program known as Adobe InCopy? I didn't. Until yesterday. It's like Microsoft Word, but with style sheets.

These are my personal observations of newsrooms so far:

--Those sports reporters you see portrayed on TV shows? They're not far off.
--All page designers look the same to me. And they all sit their with their headphones on while putting the pages together.
--Advertising people use PCs, reporters get Macs.
--Tech guys kinda are nerdy and believe your password is sacred.
--Reporters' desks fall into one of the following categories: organized and neat, slightly organized, organized chaos, chaotic.
--Post-It notes are vital for reminders.
--Phone systems work the same no matter where you go.
--Everyone drinks lots and lots of coffee.
--You never truly appreciate electronic archives of your papers until you don't have one.
--Readers are the most important thing to all the (slightly cynical) journalists who toil at their desks and phones and all around the city every day.

Also got a new cell phone yesterday and finally got rid of the other piece of crap that doesn't get service anywhere. However, also means that I extended my contract for another two years.

And I slept for nine hours straight since I passed out within hours of getting home.

I was going to delve deeper into the meaning of journalism, but seeing as how I have to leave in 15 minutes, I'll save that for later.


At work right now.

So I've been here for about two and a half hours now.

Greenspun has the nicest newsroom I've seen. Now mind you, the only other newsroom I've seen is the Las Vegas Review-Journal's. But still.

So far, I've filled out paperwork, been given a tour, gotten my first phone call to deal with (and accidentally dropped the call while searching for the issue he asked for), learned how their archiving system works (they only have print editions) and dealt with Tech because my computer login isn't working (currently logged in as a reporter who left the News to work for the Sun).

I've also browsed through the Green Valley News, the South Valley News, the Silverado News...I'm working on getting to the Summerlin News (both editions), the West Valley News, the Boulder City News and the Henderson Home News.

I've learned that the A&E section is the same for all the papers, as are the inside sports pages.

I won't be doing any actual reporting and writing for a couple weeks. My first job is to help with the Nevada Press Association contest entries.

What else...I've met so many people that I can't keep their names straight, I've already been told to stay away from the advertising department and I've met this former Sagebrusher that I've heard stories about from Amy and Annie. Oh, and informed that Starbucks is right down the street.

I should be getting back to those newspapers now...

First day.

I will be at Human Resources in about two hours.

Kinda crazy.

Wish I wasn't so tired. Need to get off the sleep schedule I was on during school and get back to something more...normal. Bed before 1 a.m. would be preferrable.

Is it sad that all I can really think about at this point is that I can't decide what shoes to wear?

Also, this whole on-the-other-side-of-town thing (AKA 45 minutes away) isn't any fun at all. Well, according to Mapquest, it's more like half an hour. But it's Vegas. There'll be at least one morning traffic accident on the way there.

Ugh. My mother's beckoning. And I have to blow dry my hair.

First day, here I come.


Las Vegas.

I came to this conclusion today, while hanging out with Courtland and Gianna and discussing where we thought we'd be in nine years (because that's when our 10-year high school reunion would be).

After this summer, and after this internship, I don't ever want to come back to Las Vegas for a period longer than a month, max. This place isn't home anymore. I mean, it'll always be the place I grew up, and the place where I am comfortable with giving directions and going around in. It will always be the home of some of my friends and most of my family.

But as I sat on (itchy) grass on this (little) hill and looked at the lights from this (wannabe ) park, I realized that I don't want to live here. Not in this flat, barren, dry and hot desert.

I love this city, but it just isn't for me. I just hope that I'm able to hold true to this statement.

Obviously, if this is what I'm contemplating, then I'm bored out of my mind. I need something to do to keep me busy, and soon, before I go insane.


Little update before I start.

Just felt I had to mention that I got the idea to do this from Mike, the design editor at the paper I work at. He's doing a photo-based one from his internship in Kentucky.

Got a call from Brian, the recruiter at Greenspun Media Group. Need to be there at 9 a.m. Monday morning, to do paperwork and all that good stuff. Also need to call John, the executive editor, and tell him about my transportation dilemma (no license, no car for at least a month).


So it begins...

I am sitting in my dorm room 456 for the last time ever. Most of my stuff is packed away and stored in a storage unit over the summer and the rest is in three suitcases, a carry-on dufflebag and a laptop bag. I'll be flying home to Vegas in about 14 hours.

I just finished my freshman year at the University of Nevada, Reno, where I'm majoring in journalism. I'm putting a very interesting year behind me, from friends and experiences to debates and production nights. After working at my student newspaper for a year, I'll be doing a summer internship with the News, the community newspapers in Vegas.

I've decided to create this blog to commemorate what the next three months of my life will hold. New experiences, new faces, new stories, new life. Well, for a little bit, anyway.

The fun starts Monday.