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Being a PA News Intern

My First Phone Call 6-10-15

It finally happened today– I had to make my first phone call.

I knew walking in to work today that I would have to make the call.  I had to set up an interview for my first feature on the Century Plant.  It was my job to get it set up and ready to go, but I was still terrified to do it.

When I came in, I had a few articles to type up, so I could stall for a little bit.  One of the articles was written in cursive and needed to be deciphered first; it would be much easier if people wrote in print.

By the time I had finished that up, everyone was at lunch.  It was the optimal time to make the call, no one would be around to hear me if I flustered.  … Except no one had taught me how to use the phone, and I had no idea what I needed to do when it asked me for an extension. So, I had to wait until someone came back and could tell me how to make the call in the first place.

When I finally got help working the phone, I sat there and stared at it for what seemed like forever.  I was planning in my head what I was going to say when he answered, what I would say if I got his voicemail, what would happen if I for whatever terrifying reason dialed the wrong number.  And the phone just stared back, blinking its little red light as if it was mocking me.

Finally, I picked up the phone and punched in the first number. “I can do this.  Its just a short phone call,” I told myself.  I punched in the second number, but it didn’t show up on the screen.  I punched it again, still no number.  I had to hold down the key all the way before it finally popped up.  “Stupid phone, making this harder than it needs to be.”

When the call finally went through, the interviewee answered on the first ring.  It was a short call and wasn’t too hard at all, except I had to have him repeat what he said because I couldn’t hear him over his barking dogs.  I got an interview time set up for first thing in the morning.  “See, that wasn’t so bad,” I tried to tell myself.  I probably would have believed it, if I hadn’t had a small heart attack when he called me back to let me know he might be late to the interview.

After that, I just got to work on a few articles at my desk and calm down.  Now I just have to worry about the actual interview tomorrow morning.

 

Avoiding the Heat, Taking a Seat 6-9-15

It was a high of 91° today, so I was really grateful that I got to sit at my desk and work all day.  It’s going to take me a while to acclimate to the rising summer temperatures, but I’ll get it eventually.  It’s just too hot in Southeast Texas.

I was busy first thing this morning with a few events to add to the Triangle Calendar.  It didn’t take me very long, but afterwards I had to decipher the Letter to the Editor and type it up.  It probably wouldn’t have been so hard to read if it wasn’t faxed, but I managed to figure it out.  It was almost like a game of hangman, where I could only read a few letters and had to piece it together.

After my lunch break and getting to know some of my coworkers in the break room, I typed up a story on a student with perfect attendance.  I also got to set up my new work bullet journal to keep me on track; it’s very color-coded, just the way I like it.

I got my first feature assignment for this week– an article about the Century Plant blossoming.  I’m a little nervous about the interview, but at least I like plants.

I closed up my day with our weekly meeting about the upcoming magazine.  It was a short, quick meeting, and I’m almost set to do my interview for the Why I Love the Triangle section.  I’m excited to see how the magazine turns out.

 

Quiet Day in the Office 6-4-15

I enjoyed a quiet day in the office working as opposed to a hot day in the field taking pictures; I’m still not used to the Texas heat!

I worked for about an hour in the morning posting stories onto the website.  Now that I know how the program works, its a breeze transferring and editing the stories.

I only had one photo assignment today taking pictures of the new store Then Comes Baby.  While the interview was going on, I got to wander around the shop and take various pictures of the maternity products they offered, as well as learn some things I didn’t know about being a new mom (Did you know they have necklaces you can wear that the baby can teeth on?  Me either).  The shop was very cute and I got to chit-chat with the manager a little after the interview.

When I got back to the office, I just had a few assignments to do before I was done.  I finally bought some M&M’s from the vending machine in the break room and it wouldn’t let go of the wrapper!  It was just hanging there by the corner of the bag, so naturally I had to buy a second bag so it would let it go.  I now have two bags of M&M’s (life is good).  It was an easy end to the week.  I have Friday off, so I can spend the time studying for my SAT on Saturday… Yikes!

A Day of Photos 6-4-15

Yesterday (as this post is a day late) I was preoccupied with photography assignments every two hours from 10 to 2.  I came in about 15 minutes earlier than usual so that I could make it to my first assignment at the Port Arthur ISD, where I took pictures of three teachers participating in teaching summer school.

When I got back, I had a few events waiting for me to put them in the Triangle Calendar, which I now have completely figured out.  A snack and a story later, I had another photography assignment at Bulldog Stadium to take pictures of Nederland High’s valedictorian.  While the interview was going on, I got to look around and plan where I wanted to take the picture.  I was excited to have the opportunity to play with angles and positions a little for the picture.  I figured out the perfect spots and waited for the interview to be over.  The final picture was perfect, with the valedictorian leaning against the goal post and the sign of the Bulldog in the background.

In between the 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock assignments, I learned how to post stories onto the website.  I managed to get two edited and one posted before I had to make it to my next assignment– taking pictures of the Memorial valedictorian.

We met at her house to conduct the interview.  Thankfully, she had a beautiful yard sign for being dance team captain that we could take pictures with.  It was a quick and easy photo, even though it was incredibly hot outside.  Today, I get to spend most of the day in the office, avoiding the summer heat!

 

Busy as a Bee, Immersed like an Intern 6-2-15

Waking up in the morning and preparing to get busy at work would be a lot easier if I could drink coffee.

After a sluggish morning, I walked into the office at 10, set my bag down, and had only just clicked on my email when I was immediately whisked away to take pictures for an article.  I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I was the first day; I knew how the camera worked this time.

It’s really interesting for me to be able to watch the other reporters interview people about different events and organizations.  Each of them has a different way of asking questions and taking notes, but they all attempt to make small talk during the interview.  I think that helps to take the formality out of the process and make it a little more casual and relaxed.  I tend to be nervous getting interviewed and when I interview other people, so I understand how a little chit-chat helps to relax the interviewer and the interviewee.

When we got back to the office, I had three articles waiting for me.  One of them wasn’t due for a couple of weeks, but I had the opportunity to get started on it immediately and prepare what I wanted to do with it.  I had just finished one of the shorter articles when I got another photography assignment at the Salvation Army.

We got to the Salvation Army after having to go through a slight detour due to construction.  I got to sit in one of the softest little chairs I’ve ever felt before while I paid attention to the interview.  I think one of the greatest things about being a reporter is you get to meet and talk to so many incredible people.  Everyone you interview has a different personality, something that is important to them, and a story to tell.  That’s partly what being a journalist is– helping to tell all those stories.

I got my schedule for tomorrow when we got back from the interview: three more photo assignments two hours apart.  I’m already ready to get started.

First Day as an Interning Journalist 6-1-15

I came in to my new job as the Port Arthur News intern this morning to find a large stack of paperwork on my desk, just waiting to be filled out.  After an hour of sorting through (and figuring out how to fill out) the application, a W-4, and various other paperwork, I immediately left on my first photography assignment.

It was incredibly nerve-wrecking having an assignment on the first day, even though it was a small one.  I had never used the camera before- I had to learn as I went. I looked over the camera on the way over, and without my yearbook experience from years before, I would have been completely lost.  But, I was familiar with the camera’s style, and after a few minutes of fiddling with the settings, I had figured it out.  It only took a few minutes for me to take pictures of the brief award ceremony at the Senior Center before I was back in my desk at the PA News, with a computer now ready to go and an assignment already waiting.

Thanks to help from my fellow employees, I generally learned how the system worked and what a Triangle Calendar was.  I was able to finish my first article and input three events into the Triangle Calendar on my own.  It was a very productive day, but I have so much more to learn.