27 January 2009

Day....3? Yes. Three.

I'm pretty sure I've only been working at the Tribune a total of three days. Well, I mean, if you only count the days that I've driven up here and sat in front of a desk and experienced all the wonders of dictionary.reference.com.

I love reference.com. Its thesaurus, not even joking, has saved my lame-lexiconed behind so many times that now I just leave a tab open on the browser whenever I'm writing or reading something. I'm hoping to increase my vocabulary dramatically while I'm working. I'd like to say that I want to do this so that I understand everything better and faster, and so that I have to use the thesaurus and stylebook less. But I suppose I have to admit that I also just love being pretentious and using long or strange words.

Some of my friends have been asking me lately what I actually do when I come to work (and it IS work, thankyouverymuch). So here is a quick rundown of my Tuesdays and Thursdays:

1. Classes in Boulder until some point between 3 p.m. and 3:18 p.m.
2. Special speed walking practice from the time my class gets out to the time I get to the bus stop, generally just in time to watch the bus I want pull away from the stop.
3. After that, I try to get out of town as quickly as humanly possible, and I drive to Greeley while singing loudly to myself and pretending to dance. The singing is fun; the dancing is difficult. Seat belts don't allow for very much movement.
4. 5 p.m.ish: Arrive at the Greeley Tribune and walk to the front door while earnestly praying that the front doors are still open. I don't know why I fear ringing the doorbell by the employee's entrance, but I do. Maybe it's haunted, or booby trapped. Who knows? It could be the last button I ever push...
5. From then on, I sit at a desk and am given different things to color on. Ok, so the "coloring" is actually "editing". And the things I edit range from mocked-up pages to simple, plain pages of text.

So, you see, the job description is not too exciting. But the atmosphere...oh, the atmosphere.

I'd always pictured newsrooms as loud, with people yelling, editors screaming, reporters banging on keyboards with fantastic dedication...

Even when I was here in the middle of the afternoon, things were quiet. One guy who's stationed at the island of desks to my left was sitting on a exercise ball, you know, one of those almost-translucent things yoga-crazy women keep in their houses by the TV? Black signs with white lettering hang above each division of the room. Most all of the keyboards are the white Apple boards, but the majority of the monitors are black Dells. I'm not really sure how that happened, but ok. Sure. I'll go with it.

A police scanner rattles off events from a desk somewhere behind my own. The sports guys are always yelling at one another and at the TVs they stare at; the carpet is the dull, boring, probably-filthily-dirty brown that I'm pretty sure was also in my high school's cafeteria.

Today I introduced myself to a sports intern from UNC named Megan (Meghan? Maegan?), and I think that when I first walked in I saw a girl from Boulder. I'll need to double-check that. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one learning things here.

I also got to do my first stint of headline writing tonight, for a small series of briefs. Nothing too exciting, but I did have the same problems I did when I first wrote headlines for my Newsediting class a couple semesters ago. Note to self: DON'T LET THE VERBS GET AHEAD OF THE STORY.

Oops. You mean, the headline can't hint that something already happened, when it doesn't take place for a week? Ohhhhhhhhh....Gotcha (cue a little nearly-nervous laughter).

New word of the day:
"predeceased": to die before (another person, the occurrence of an event, etc.)
I knew that you could be deceased, and even "preceded in death". But "predeceased"? I had no idea that people actually said that. Or maybe funeral home directors were getting tired of the typical "Jane Doe was preceded in death by...." and decided to come up with a new, more snazzy word.

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