Tonight was my first assignment as a paid stringer for a local paper. A parent of one of my high school friend works for the Leader Vindicator and asked if I’d like to do some coverage reporting while I was on break. I sent in some samples and a resume. My first assignment? Borough Authority and Council meetings for a tiny town. It was a classic starter job and pretty simple.
Still ,I’ve been nervous for the last two days. Being a paid writer is an exciting but daunting task. Trying to avoid getting worked up, I didn’t plan ahead as much as I usually do. At the last minute I was trying to find something to wear and warm up the car. There was a minor weather event today. My mom decided she was going to travel with me because she was worried about the roads and I was not confident in my ability to find the recreation center.
So I was already nervous, running a little late and travelling with my mother. What sort of adult travels to her first reporting job with her mom. She was very supportive and I would have probably gotten lost without her, but I felt pretty childish. She waited in the frigid car for the almost 2 hour meeting. I can never say I don’t have a good support system.
The meeting was for a town smaller than my own (which is saying something). It boasts a rec. center, library, Subway and gas station. That’s it. I arrived with 4 minutes to spare after getting caught behind a very slow truck. The recreation center was an old school building. The second floor classroom was well worn and very cold. Loud pulsating beats came from some undisclosed source of pop music downstairs.
Now I’m a very small person. I often get offered children’s menus. It a non-collegiate environment, I don’t really scream “professional news reporter” so much as “child”. I was nearly shaking when I entered the room and I was rather nauseous. I tried to look confident as I gave my name and affiliated paper. They didn’t look twice at me. The meeting started late because the authority had to wait for enough members to reach quorum.
Both meetings were rather uneventful. When the meetings switched over to the Sligo Borough Council, we waited for quorum once again. Officers were elected (mostly exactly the same as the previous year’s leaders). There was a general lack of focus and the subjects that the council got the most fired up about were un-reportable.
It’s not going to be a very exciting article. Elections and some new lights were the highlight of the meeting. The article won’t be published til next week so it will probably be buried near the middle/end of the weekly paper. Nonetheless, I will be a real reporter, at least a little bit. I’m excited that I survived. Tomorrow I’m writing the article so I guess I’m not out of the woods. It’s all just experience though, and it makes for a fun story.