I’m the managing editor of a weekly newspaper, which means I’m overworked, underpaid and mostly crispy, most of the time. Our newsroom consists of me, two general reporters who do double duty as photographers and a one-day-a-week editor for the entertainment section.
Both of the reporters are great guys and talented writers. They work incredibly hard for not much in the way of pay, since like just about all community weeklies, we operate on the tightest of shoestrings. But they’re bright and they’re hungry. Both of them are dedicated to doing the best work they’re capable of doing – and then doing even more.
But gang, I gotta tell ya. The younger of the two kicks journalistic ass. He’s just starting out, fresh out of Chico State, which is why he’s doing time at my little weekly. It’s a training ground, like most small papers.
This young man is, however, extraordinary. And today, I’m in editorial heaven.
Here’s the story.
Late last week, we heard that President Bush would be making a couple of short stops at two environmentally-progressive companies in the area. My intrepid young reporter decided, as a lark, to see if he could get credentials to attend one of them, hear Bush speak and maybe get a few photos. Without telling me he was going to do it, he called and left his name with the presidential press people inquiring about getting credentials. Left a voice mail.
As he went out to snag some lunch, he said, “If the White House calls for me, take a message.”
We all got a chuckle out of this. Thought he was kidding. He sauntered out of the office, laughing.
Well, the White House called while he was gone. The ad rep who took the call came bouncing into our miniscule newsroom, all a-flutter, saying they’d told her they’d be faxing the President’s itinerary.
Jaws dropped all around. So when our boy got back, we passed on the message. His response?
“Get outa here! No way!”
Well, he got his credentials. And on Saturday, he was at the event with a slew of other reporters, print and broadcast. He got his story and he took several excellent photos. The shot at the top of the post is one that I, being of irreverent mind, particularly like.
This week, our little rag will publish its first, locally produced news story about the visit of a sitting president, along with some damned good photos. I’m so proud I could bust. And so is our talented, on-his-way-up reporter, but he’s modest. If it weren’t for the cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on his face, you’d never know.