Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reminiscing with the future in mind

At this time last year, I was in Washington taking photos of the Jefferson Memorial during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. All that reminiscing has got me thinking about how my past has plowed a road into the future (and all that philosophical baloney).

I rarely talk shop on The Offlede, and I doubly rarely get too personal with my posts for fear my boredom could be contagious. But there are a few happenings coming up that excite me personally on a professional level (if only that made sense).

First, next week will present my first chance for in-house training at FLORIDA TODAY. I was promised it when I was hired, and now, it's being delivered - with food.

With about 20 other journalists - including higher-level editors, reporters, you name 'em - I'll be learning to produce publishable video from start to finish. Gannett trainers are coming in with the equipment and the know-how. I'm going to be grouped with two reporters. We'll report, shoot and edit. I'm severely lacking in this skill set, so once I'm proficient (that is the goal), I hope to be an all-around-darn-good journalist. And we're being fed breakfast and lunch each day, so what' not to like about this training?

Second, in order to do some of these tasks for myself and for this blog, I'll soon upgrade my computer to a MacBook Pro. The current Toshiba machine has slowed with age. It trembles during simple tasks such as looking for the definition of "za" on (a horrible dictionary, by the way, but sometimes, it's just darn convenient). "Za" is not a word, according to Merriam-Webster online.

My video training will last four days of about 12 hours each. In addition, I'll be working one normal day, so next week won't be a cakewalk. But overtime is good for the personal economic state.

Oh, and in case you don't know what I do, I'm a copy editor, a post that is responsible, among other things, for editing stories, writing headlines, then crunching them to fit onto the printed newspaper page. Copy editors are the last line of defense: If we don't catch a major error committed by a reporter or another editor - and there are many - then the compound is infiltrated and newspapers go down in defeat (but don't for a second blame the news industry's state on me).

Third, I'll be heading to Denver for my second external training mission (the first was a newspaper design conference in Tampa). That will be the three-day national conference of the American Copy Editors Society (but I'll be there for five days). I will meet with other such journalists to commiserate about our jobs and will reconnect with some old friends.

But more importantly, I'll be a panelist during one of the conference sessions called "Online Copy Editing: What’s Being Done, What Could Be Done." University of Oregon journalism professor John Russial requested my presence because FLORIDA TODAY employs Web producers who actually know a bit about editing (as opposed to those with an exclusive technological focus). I'll speak about my experience with Web producing since arriving. I love the Net, so this opportunity is perfect.

All of this has made me think about how far I've come since leaving Maine. I took the nation's capital by storm, graduated with my master's from American University, enjoyed Philadelphia and the ultimate copy editing teacher in professor Ed Trayes, left, at Temple University and loved my internship at Newsday.

I'll be blogging from Denver, so if there are any journalists reading this, you may want to stay tuned. And I guess I should take some video while I'm there, if not just to pretend I learned something.

1 comment:

Wordnerdy said...

Guess who's coming to dinner Friday night in Denver.

That's right ... Ed Trayes. I'll take a photo for ya.