10 years in news

I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’ve managed to last 10 years in news.


Check it out. That story in the left hand bottom corner? That’s the first story I remember writing for the Glendale News-Press. Of course, it turns out that a friend found an earlier byline that published on Feb. 20, 2003, about how Head Start was going to take a hit, but I honestly don’t remember writing that story. (I also tried to use my middle name in my first byline, but with the sheer number of stories I pushed out during my tenure at the GNP, that fell by the wayside fast.) I suppose this was the first of many front page GNP stories.

In the grand scheme of things, front page of the Glendale News-Press doesn’t mean much — it’s a small community newspaper folded into the LA Times, only available in Glendale, after all. But to a fresh journalism graduate who had spent the previous four months taking every job possible to keep writing news, along with paying my car payments and cell phone bill with part-time jobs at Coffee Bean and an art gallery, where my sister worked, as their webmaster — it was a big freakin deal.

Being sent to cover a big trial on my second day at work was terrifying. I remember my editor, Amber Willard, instructing me on where to park (at the LA Times parking garage, where my security badge worked). I remember coming back to the newsroom, not having a clue how to write this story. But somehow, probably by the grace of God and Amber’s guidance, the story got onto the screen and into the system and into the paper. Amazing.

Journalism doesn’t teach you how to make contacts and develop sources at a department you’re also covering as the subject of a sexual harassment trial. But somehow, it worked out, and I was on the police, fire and courts beat for a good year. I don’t even know how I accomplished that, but I can sympathize with people who get burned out by the beat. I don’t know how Edna Buchanan managed to do it for 18 years. But I’m glad I did it, and that I’ll never have to wonder whether I would be able to or not.

Before being hired at the GNP to work the police beat, I’d been working holiday, overnight hours at City News Service. I just want to include an excerpt from my archives about that time. This was written on Jan. 27, 2003:

My schedule last week:

Monday: I go into the gallery for the majority of the day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) Then I work at City News from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. till Tuesday.

Tuesday: I get home from City News by 7. Sleep till about noon, go to Coffee Bean at 5 p.m., close the store.

Wednesday: I have an interview with the Glendale News-Press (everyone cross your fingers and toes and pray for me). Then I have lunch with (Trinity). It was a good day. Before going into City News, my sister tells me the gallery needs me to come in tomorrow. I say, fine, but at least let me sleep till noon. Go into City News at 10 p.m. till 6 a.m. Thursday.

Thursday: Get home at 7 a.m. on Friday, sleep till noon and then go into the gallery. Go back to sleep after the gallery, but not very well. Go into work at City News again at 10 p.m.

Friday: Get home at 7 a.m., but the gallery needs me to come in, and I want to sleep in the afternoon so I can at least have dinner with the (Trinity). I sleep for an hour and a half, go in, go home, go to sleep. Get a phone call from my editor who says the weekend overnight guy is sick, can I fill in? *sigh* I say yes. Get dinner with (Trinity) and go to work at City news again at 10 p.m.

Saturday: I thought this day would be my day off. Veg around most of Saturday after waking up at noon (I think). Have dinner with (Trinity) again. Go in at 10 p.m.

Sunday: I wake up at 2 p.m. and have to be at Coffee Bean to close by 3:30. It was actually supposed to be 3:15.

Monday: I’m in the gallery now, have to work at Coffee Bean at noon till 4 or 5 p.m. Will have to go into City News tonight. But tomorrow, after waking up, is my day off – sort of. It’s my day to get my car straightened out. Hopefully.

I look back and read this and I can only smile and shake my head. I’m glad I’m not here anymore, but man, those were the days.

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