05 March 2009

Recording the records

I got to take my first shot at designing pages today!


Like I pseudo-prophesied on Tuesday night, I forgot almost everything that Sandra showed me during our little learning session. Well, let me be a little more specific. I remembered most of it, meaning that I remembered that it happened and I remembered what to do once something happened; but as for opening certain templates...

I wasn't too great at that part. To add to the difficulty, the page I got apparently had a very strange ad stack (the composition of the advertisements) on it. I'm not familiar enough with ads and how they usually look to be able to know how weird it was, but in the end, Sandra had to help me out with making things fit (ie. adding some filler).

That's another thing that makes it hard for interns -- one of the things you learn while becoming a veteran at a paper is where everything is. I, only having been here since late January, know where almost nothing is. It took me about forty-five minutes to do the obits page earlier, but the biggest reason for that was my wandering around the editorial folders trying to remember where templates and mugs were. Yeah, I know, it would be a lot easier and a lot faster to simply ask.

But if I don't figure it out myself, or get made a fool of in the process, I won't remember anything. That's why I will always remember where to find the initial pages, which have the ad stacks on them and are just waiting for stories and pictures. I tried to find it for about six minutes, then I gave out a little sigh and asked. Theresa came over, set her hand on the mouse, and showed me where to find it. She did it very kindly, and without any sarcasm or teasing.

I still felt silly.

On the other hand, I'm pretty happy with myself for having been able to manage most of the rest of the page. I just kept reminding myself that it was the first time I'd ever used Quark, and the first time I'd ever created a page for a working newspaper. I may never have all of the magic keystrokes memorized, but at least I can figure things out the long way!

In other news, I recognize everybody's initials now, so after I've given a first or second look to a page, I know who should be looking at it next. I know where the box is to put pages to be read, and I'm finally getting the hang of how far apart things need to be on the page. There's actually quite a long list of things I now feel very comfortable with, save a single thing.

Remember how I hated getting to work before the building closed at 5 p.m.?

Go figure that last week, the Tribune changed its opening hours to finish at 4:30 p.m. Now, no matter what time I get here, I have to ring the doorbell. At least nothing funny happens when I press on the little white rectangle. I just have to stand and wait for a kind person to get up from their desk and open the doors for me from the inside. I wonder how long it'll be before they're so tired of getting up for the interns that they just decide to get keys made for us.

Nevermind, that will probably never happen. It's not on the same priority list as getting a gas stipend (which I have gotten, thank you, God). I suppose I will just have to keep ringing the bell and smiling sweetly when someone comes to get me.

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