That one desk in the newsroom

At one of the eight desks in the newsroom is a desk that has everything you’ll ever need as a reporter. That desk has the most current AP Stylebook, a can of “community keyboard cleaner,” a police scanner and a boombox from the early 2000’s that plays oldies all day.

At this desk sits Greg. One of the long-time reporters at the paper, other than the famous sports editor.

In addition to the accessories at his desk is a brain full of knowledge about who is who and what is what in the county. He knows who to call, where to go, what to do.

And he always has two rules to go by for any said topic.

He will make you laugh, and he will butcher your articles if you ask him to proofread. But he knows what he’s doing.

Sometimes he’ll tell you to call someone and spout their number off while you’re still trying to write down their first name. It’s because he knows the city and folks like the back of his hand.

I don’t think anyone in the newsroom could do their job to the fullest if it wasn’t for that desk and guy who sits in it.

And I forgot to mention, the deer mounted on the wall of the newsroom…yeah, Greg shot it.

Follow reporter Hannah Louise Strong on Twitter @HannahLStrong

One month in as a reporter

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I’ve been reporting for a little more than a month and I’ve already learned one of the most important things a young reporter could learn: observing.

It may sound like an obvious thing for a reporter to do. But I’m not just talking about observing to make mental notes within the settings you cover, which do add great details to a story, but observing other reporters in the newsroom and your editor. Especially asking your editor to do side-by-side editing, if there is time before going to press. The reporters know the area well, and some know certain numbers of contact off the top of their heads.

My favorite thing to do on quieter days when I have the time, is go out on breaking crime news with the crime reporter. I know I sound like a little girl anxious for an adventure when my head pops up and I immediately say “can I go?” after we hear 10-75 on the police scanner.

I love listening to the police scanner. The other day we heard 10-75, it turned out someone had shot himself with a flare gun. I stayed in the newsroom that day.

Being new to an area comes with its struggles. Like driving up and down Catawba Street looking for City Hall and continuously passing it for no good reason.

The town is quaint and small and easy to learn your way around. I learned when my parents came to visit that the three of us could have a sit down breakfast, coffee and all, for $19, tip included. It blew my mind.

Although I have my first “big girl job” I’m still not finished learning, and I’ve realized that I’m a sponge trying to soak up all the water I can. My professors at Winthrop did an amazing job preparing me for my first reporting position, but you don’t know a deadline until you’re coming up on 15 minutes until your story goes to press and you have a few more graphs to add.

Stay tuned, if you wish, because I have a feeling weekly blogs will be a regular as I gather many stories to tell from my first job as a reporter.

Follow reporter Hannah Louise Strong on Twitter @HannahLStrong