The evolution of my writing: Part two

If you did not read my previous post, let me quickly fill you in: A week ago I applied for a reporting position at CM Life, the newspaper at Central Michigan University. Three days later, I landed the gig. Fast forward to present-day.

I was given my first story last Monday, three days after I applied to CM Life and also the very day I was “hired.” I was assigned to an editor and told to have said story completed by 11 a.m. Thursday, just a few days later.

No problem, right? Wrong.

I had trouble contacting a few sources. I had my main source interviewed the day after I got the assignment, but the other two subjects and I had a difficult time juggling our schedules for us to set up a time to interview. I called my editor and informed her of the situation, asked her a few other questions about my story and she gave me some useful ideas on how to keep things rolling. My Thursday deadline went by, and the story still wasn’t completed yet.

At that moment I found myself worried and emotionally detached from my writing. Only a few days prior was I ecstatic because I had landed a gig with CM Life. My journalism career had a beginning; I was a reporter. However, my first story wasn’t going as planned and I missed my first deadline.

Numerous thoughts and questions began flying through my mind. “How could I miss my first deadline?” “What is my editor going to think of me missing my first deadline?” “Will this mistake get me booted from CM Life before I even have a chance to write a story, or will this cause her (my editor) to give me few stories in the future?” And so on and so forth…

Lo and behold, I was finally able to interview my other two sources. Useful information was gathered and I got some very good quotes.

Next step: write the story.

No problem, right? Wrong.

Peppered by a few distractions, it took me about two hours to write the story. I double-, triple-, even quadruple-checked the spellings of the sources making sure I didn’t make any mistakes. My sources all wanted me to email them the story upon its completion and publication, and I did not want to disrespect them by spelling their names incorrectly. A journalist’s first and most important priority is accuracy. Misspelling someone’s name, even more so than missing a deadline (thankfully, this story wasn’t an extremely important story, so it did not need to be run in the paper as originally planned), is overly unacceptable. I couldn’t let such a simple mistake happen.

I proofed the story plenty of times, not only for grammatical errors (I found none) but also for content to make sure the quotes were in the right places and the story was fluid (it was). I was pleased with the product I created so I sent it in to my editor Saturday evening in time for the Sunday deadline for publication on Monday, Feb. 2.

The story is completed. Now it is time for me to be published for the first time (collegiately).

No problem, right? Wrong.

I got a call after the Sunday, Feb. 1 deadline (11 a.m.) from one of the editors from CM Life regarding my story. My story is about an interesting “idea/experiment” conducted by a professor at Grand Valley State University. (All the details I will give as of right now. You can find out the rest when the story is published!) The problem with my article, and rightfully so, is I did not make the story a local story. The story will not be run in Monday’s paper.

“Shit, what now?”

I was instructed, and will do so diligently, to interview a student and instructor from CMU to give it a sense of locality. I need to make the story more related to Central Michigan but still keep its ties to Grand Valley.

New deadline: the afternoon on Tuesday, Feb. 3 in time for Wednesday’s edition.

No problem, right? To be determined.

My first story has taken quite the roller coaster ride, and it still has not arrived back at the station.


Welcome to the evolution of my writing.



2 thoughts on “The evolution of my writing: Part two

  1. brother, the way one’s character is defined is how that person reacts to and handles adversity. One quote that I penned years ago is this, ” character is built by your successes and your failures and I, by now, am an interesting chracter.”.

    your first endeavor to write as a professional is a trying one, but you can pull it off I am sure. Do not be discouraged by these setbacks. Remember, your editor is also a teacher and this experience gives you the opportunity to learn something. Learn what you can brother. You too, are an interesting character. *** and I have not proof read so my punctuation may not be perfect but my point is clear***

  2. Pingback: The evolution of my writing: Part four – Columnist « The Write Schanz

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