What I would like, ideally, is an internship (or a job) where I come in and am assigned a new story every morning. That is how I would learn the most, by having a beat and covering something every day. That’s how I would learn the most about writing on deadline, getting information, talking to sources and so on. Knight Ridder/Tribune isn’t working that way.
KRT does have its advantages, though. I can work on a mix of different kinds of stories. I’ve done some spot news, a couple of softer things, and am working on some less timely news features. My supervisor, Ray Walker, is probably one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. But he definitely exercises his editorial discretion. I will take a look at something in the daybook (a listing of Congressional hearings and news “events” in D.C.) and think, “I could write a story on this,” but he’ll say, “You can go to that, but don’t write a story on it.”
That’s a little frustrating. I’d like it if he (or someone else) came to me and said, “Do go to this and do write a story on it.” Whenever a story gets pitched to me, it’s always something lighter and less timely. And that’s OK, I guess. That’s their prerogative, especially since I’m not interning in the Washington bureau, just on the other side of the floor.
By the way, I’m working in the National Press Building, the top two floors of which house the National Press Club. You may have seen it on C-SPAN’s coverage of the National Press Club luncheons, where they have a newsmaker give a talk on some subject or another. Last week Ted Kennedy gave a speech on health care, which I wrote a story about. I thought I did a good job with it. I have no idea if it got picked up anywhere, of course, because I need to get my hands on Lexis-Nexis to search for it (and my other stories). KRT does not track which paper picks up which stories.
Well, they’re kicking me out of here again. Hasta luego.