The Pryor Times


November 9, 2013

My first year as a reporter

PRYOR, OK — A lot can happen in a year.

My first day as a reporter for the Pryor Times was a year ago this week. I did the math and figured I've written roughly 600 articles since that day. (I average 10 per week, 52 weeks in a year plus special projects and columns). I've learned though, time spent as a reporter is not measured so much in words written or hours worked, but by milestones.

So in my 365 days as a reporter, I've been detained by Homeland Security once, scolded by the governor and rubbed elbows with politicians on numerous occasions.

I've received one each: a death threat, a marriage proposal and an offer of illegal drugs. I've been called ‘sir’ twice and ‘mom’ once. I have written education, politics, crime and even a little agriculture and sports.

I've learned I must have with me at all times pens, paper, an umbrella, a coat, rain boots, hand sanitizer, ear plugs, a snack and a change of shoes.

During this year, it has become clear to me that people get a little whiney if you don't give them what they consider to be enough press and they get even more whiney if you make them sound whiney. I've received cards and gifts from readers thanking me for my work but I've also been the recipient of phrases like “Sorry sweetheart, this is men's work.”

I've met some pretty great people, both obvious and behind the scenes heroes; fire chiefs, police officers, principals and teachers, council members. People have been welcoming and patient while I learn the ropes.

I've gone through roughly a million ink pens and an uncountable number of cups of coffee.

I've been given some great advice like not to take things too personally and never say “Oh, I don't need to write that down, I'll remember.”

I've learned that a newsroom is one of the weirdest places on earth and that you'll hear the strangest things if you listen to a police scanner.

While this is by far the greatest job I've ever had, it's quite easily the weirdest job I've ever had. There was a fist fight, a car wreck, a ribbon cutting and an elementary school program all on my first day. While it was one of the weirdest first days on the job, it pretty much set the tone for my year.

I've recently come across a quote from a newspaper owner. The guy said, “It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell.” So that is my goal for the next year, to raise a little hell.

Thanks for giving me the best first year as a reporter I could have imagined. Here's to another 365 days.

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