October 30, 2014

What I’ve learned so far

By Matt Keeton
Staff Writer | reporter@ogemawherald.com
Posted 6/29/11

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As of June 22, I have been working for Sunrise Printing and Publishing for a year. In that time, I have learned much about the news industry, and have picked up a few life lessons along the way.

Here’s what I have learned so far:

-First, just because someone knows how to write, that does not necessarily mean he or she knows how to write about news. Or take photos. Or cover meetings. Or interact with random people who don’t really want to talk to them.

-Never take “no” for an answer. Unless “no” is the answer, in which case, not taking “no” for an answer would be dishonest journalism.

-Not everyone wants to have their picture taken, and some will go out of their way to make sure it does not happen, even if it would allow a poor, overworked journalist to get what he came to get and go home.

-Much to my dismay, real newsmen have little to no social life. While working on a schedule that revolves around what everyone else is doing, it can be quite difficult to identify what little free time you have, in order to plan a relaxing day that doesn’t involve sitting on your couch and watching a movie, thinking about all the work piling up for you at the office.

-Government officials rarely, if ever, dumb down discussions at meetings just because you are clueless as to what they are talking about.

-People tend to get irritated with you around the third time you call them in the same day. Woe to you if you have to call them a fourth time.

-People at large companies don’t care who you are, where you’re from or how big of a hurry you’re in; they’re still going to put you on hold for at least half an hour.

-You can sit behind a desk all day, making phone calls, writing stories and browsing the internet, and still go home feeling as if you just did a full day of real work.

-The way people speak to you often changes dramatically once they learn that they are on the record. If everyone acted as they do when they know anything they say may be quoted in print and attributed to them, the world would be a much more tame, and therefore boring, place to live.

-Politicians and election workers are not the only people stressed out on election night; pursuing election results for hours on end tends to make even the most dedicated journalists question their career choice.

Finally, I’ve learned that my fellow employees at Sunrise are a hardworking, dedicated group of people working in several unique communities which have much more to offer than meets the eye, and I am lucky to be here. No matter how stressed, irritated or angry this job can make me at times, and how badly I may want to pull out my own hair, or the hair of others for that matter, that is the one lesson that has stuck with me the most.

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