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