Covering education obviously isn’t as sexy or as exciting as covering cops or courts. Now, when I was covering cops, let’s just remember that most of the excitement on the beat at that time was in the courtrooms. And then every so often there would be shootings or stabbings or some horrific accidents to write about (I know, morbid, sorry). So, every so often, on the education beat, I have a bit of a hard time getting excited about the stories I do – they range from what I call “policy stories” to “event stories.” My policy stories are the ones that tend to be hard news, and honestly, the most exciting stuff lately has been the negotiations between the teacher’s union and the district. But then, today, I got a call from a source at the district. I didn’t return his call before 5, which was my mistake – I had thought I might have accidentally done something to the video tape of the board meeting, which I’d viewed the other day at the district. Turned out he tipped me off to a really good story, and I got all revved up about it. I got so revved up, I played the “we might get beat on this story if we don’t do it tonight” card.
So what gets me revved up on the education beat? Well, in this story 1) I didn’t get the fax from the college about it until late Friday (it was faxed at like 5:30 in the evening). 2) It involved the cutting of a program that was pretty cool and that had been there for a long time, since like the 1940s. 3) It might involve a teacher getting laid off. Talk about a good policy story, so I jumped on it, even though I’d already done two event stories and was supposed to work on my first candidate story tonight. I ended up leaving the office at nearly 8 p.m., even though I’d been there since about 9 a.m.
See, I don’t mind staying late and doing extra work. But I’d like to either get paid for it, or have it be something that excites me. I didn’t get into this business to be bored, and I get bored easily.