Tag Archives: newsroom

Week Five: From Complaints to Thanksgiving in June

I am aware that I am writing this post in the early stages of Week Six–my last week of interning at the newsroom.  But I will try to keep the contents of this post relevent to Week Five and not Week Six.  Forgive me for any inconsistencies in verb tenses. 

A fourth intern has arrived and we have not communicated since she’s been here.  Intern # 3 and I have only greeted each other casually and have exchanged no words other than hello.

Week Five was a tiring, emotionally stressful, and bleak week.  I’m beginning to question if I can do this.

I woke up Monday morning and I could not muster up the strength to come to work.  I felt sick and weak.  I decided to stay home. 

I discovered a new show towards the end of Week Four: Lost.  And I feel lost.  What am I doing in a newsroom?  Why am I deciding to work more than the required 120 hours when everyday I feel like I have to drag myself from bed.

It didn’t help my motivation when I arrived at work one day asking for something to write and I was given a story that was literally picked up from the garbage can.  The story was about a  mascot for the rescue squad of a local town.  My pride was hurt when I thought that the only story the editor found me worthy to write about that day was one that was thrown in and rescued from the trash.  What has happened to my other stories?  No one gave me any word on them.  Did the editors think the stories were poorly written?  Did they think that I’m a bad writer?  If so what don’t they tell me?  I’m strong enough to hear that I’m a bad writer and wise enough to work towards improving my writing.

During Week Five, my spirit was crushed.  My energy was depleted.  Through all of that, I stumbled upon another blog that brought up the issue of struggling to be grateful for being given the opportunity to intern, while feeling ungrateful for some of the task one performs.

Amid all of my complaints, I choose to be grateful.  Something happened that helped steer me in this direction.  I approached “The Editor” and asked if I could interview him about journalism and his job as a journalist as part of my assignment and grade for the internship.  He agreed and we talked.

although he was cynical about generation Y, and  in my opinion, he did not recognize some valuable contributions some people of our generation have made to the world (Google, for example), I thought he made some good points about the decadence of print journalism as a result of the success of the World Wide Web.

He also said several things that were very poignant and I took to heart.  One thing he talked about was how he takes great pride in teaching people who are eager to learn from him.  He said that he was very disappointed from the interns he had this year because all he got from them was a bunch of complaints and eye rolling, and even more disappointing was that we wanted to do things very well when he only wanted to teach us what he has learned from years as a journalists.

I was hurt by that because I wanted nothing more than to learn from someone like him, and in my opinion, all the other intern and I wanted to do was to learn journalism in a more practical way and to produce work in the newspaper so that we had something to show our professors.

But I took all that he said in and I apologized to him in an email and admitted that he was right, and I’m changing my perspective.  I’m thankful that I even got an internship, and I’m thankful that I got to work with a nice group of people, and I’m also thankful that I got the opportunity to meet all the editors–that I got to learn a lot from “The Editor.” 

I know that by Week Six, my last week, I would have an even more positive outlook on things.  I know this because I can read into the future.  Not exactly, Week Six is already over and I’m unscathed.



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Week Two as an Intern: New Knowledge about the Grey’s Anatomy Cast; A Revolution, and Regret

By week two I was tired.  The quizzes were not helping me learn what I wanted to learn.  During our lunch breaks, the other intern and I began to complain about this and to secretly planned a revolution that would eventually change the way the internship was going.  I was slightly frustrated, and on top of that I was a bit stressed because I had found out something about two of the actors on Grey’s Anatomy.  One purpose the show served for me was to help me to unwind.  But I could not relax when I found out that two of the actors had a fight and one of the actors made gay slurs to the other.

For the past week that I was off from school, interning and Grey’s Anatomy were my life.  I could not look at the show the same way again learning that two of the actors were in conflict.  This had me losing sleep and waking up tired and unmotivated to wake up in the morning, though I was quite eager to head to the newsroom and listen to “The Editor’s” lectures about his career as a journalist and what he wanted us to learn.

When I went home at the end of my shift, I spent my nights watching You Tube videos of the cast and individual actors of Grey’s Anatomy on various talk shows.  I was happy to hear most of the actors saying things such as they like each other, and that they are pretty close.  Most of the actors who won awards thanked cast members.  I was thrilled to watch a video of Sandra Oh winning a Golden Globes and thanking her coworkers, and Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the show.

With this new knowledge that all was okay, I returned to letting Grey’s Anatomy consume my life when I was not in the newsroom.  And the revolution the other intern and I planned was boiling.  I told her that it was time to face “The Editor.”  We had to tell him that we want to learn Journalism.  We want to interview, write, and edit–not take quizzes on historical figures that we have never heard about.  Don’t get me wrong, I understood what “The Editor” was doing.  I understand the importance of history, and the fact that journalists “have to know a lot about a lot–not a little about a lot,” as “The Editor” would say.  But I felt like he was going about it the wrong way.  We were not retaining anything about those people we had written the 100 word essays on and we probably would not hear about half of them outside of the newsroom.

I thought of things that I would say to “The Editor” as the other intern said she would support me.  But it turned out that it was “The Editor” who initiated the conversation.  Somehow he had sensed that we were not gaining a lot from the quizzes.  He asked us what we would rather be doing and we told him that we wanted to write stories.  We were surprised at how flexible he was because he comes across as a stern person, even he realizes that.

As we continued to talk, “The Editor” began to seem passive aggressive rather than sincere.  He said, “since you guys want to do things your way, I’ll let you do things your way.”  He also compared our behavior to a person who watches a movie and want to leave the theater because the beginning of the movie seems boring and hard to follow.  He said that the movie eventually gets better but we would not be able to enjoy it because we did not watch it all the way through.

He told us for  our first story, we could write profiles, and if they were good, he’ll publish them.  My story was about an organization called FISH, which provides food and clothing to low-income families.  After that, he kept giving us more stories.  However, we did not know if or when they’ll get publish, which was a bit difficult because the people we interviewed called us to see when their stories would get in the paper.

“The Editor” also stopped lecturing us, and it seemed like he stopped talking to us.  He only handed us stories to write–making no eye contact–and responded indifferently when we greeted him or told him good-bye.  He wrote a column titled “Interns Should Be Careful What they Wish For.”  This was not the first column he wrote that included us.  He had written two before, both ranting about how our performance on the quizzes demonstrated the lack of knowledge of young people today.  No one told me public humiliation would be part of the job description as an intern for a newsroom.

We had what we wanted, but we needed to fix our relationship with “The Editor,” who I respect and appreciate for teaching us but disagreed with his teaching style.  I need instruction from him, and I feel like I should have continued watching the bad movie; maybe…just maybe it could have gotten a whole lot better.

Will our relationship with the editor improve?  Only time will tell.


Filed under College Life, Writing, Writing Life