An intern's farewell
By: Chaviely Dellinger, Lake County News Chronicle
I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.
– Henry R. Luce
Since the final week in June, I’ve been scrawling out stories and collecting tidbits of information like a pack rat. There are many things that I have learned about journalism throughout the course of this internship. Many AP style rules and guidelines run through my head, and grammar laws and the Oxford comma are some of my favorite lessons.
Also, though, are the more sentimental lessons. The lifelong kind, that you only get through actual experience. They chalk up to three things in particular:
Being annoying is not necessarily a bad thing when you need to get a hold of someone. I finally understand the irritation my mother feels when she can’t reach me on the phone, and the sigh of relief when she finally does catch me. It’s all-too-similar to the sometimes-hectic deadlines I’ve experienced. Both are, mostly, due to my own mistakes, one of which is realizing that journalists don’t actually have seven day weeks.
Because we’re in pre-production mode on Tuesday and production mode on Wednesday, the days we actually get to find a story and work on it are limited. Thursdays, Fridays, and Mondays are precious, because people typically like to enjoy their weekends. That’s why business days are crucial. The allotted story working time on Tuesdays is often a Godsend. The overall lesson is a new appreciation for journalists. Their weeks are only three, perhaps four days – when lucky.
When you aren’t working, you’re constantly, constantly thinking of why you aren’t working on your stories. Even if you think you’re almost finished, there are so many different things that can go completely wrong.
This is why being a journalist has brought me so close to the heart of the world. As John Lennon is famously noted for saying: “ life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” And ‘other plans’ is exactly what a news story is. It’s oddly incompatible, then, journalism and life, but at the same moment that you know your story is completely unraveled, it all falls together. Opposites totally attract.
The fact is, journalism and life coincide. One without the other would result in some really vexed folks, I’d imagine.
I really appreciate this opportunity and I’m rather apologetic that it has to be cut short. It seems as soon as I stepped in the door, I had to leave the newsroom and all the personalities that embody it. My frantic and stressed editor, Tammy, always managing to get the job done; bright and bubbly Lareesa; Clair – my once fellow intern who’s now back in school; and Bernie – the ad-man who’s got a penchant for getting The Locomotion running through his head. Not to mention the ever helpful office assistants we’ve had: Kathy and Shari.
I know, though, that the bright side is moving on to bigger things that bring me even closer to the heart of the world.