Sunrise times

Now, I’m not exactly posting this at sunrise, but I woke up today at a surprisingly early hour. I usually wake up very early during the week, but I usually sleep to a time more suited to a stereotypical college student. I really love the feeling of waking up early, because there’s something about the morning that I can’t find in any other part of the day. It’s quiet, cold, crisp, and everything seems to be waking up right next to me—the bird, the dewy grass, the sun. It’s similar to sunset, but the thing that’s motivating about the morning is that there’s an entire day to follow. So, I’m going to start posting about things that generally make me happy. I want to get to 40 before the end of Lent (because I’m weird and actively practice Lent even though my religious participation otherwise is hardly existent). It’s those little things that keep me going through the day, and it’ll help me reflect. Maybe I’ll make a separate page for these things. Or another blog. Hmmmm.

But anyway, this week was really fun. I was planning on getting my poverty stuff out this week, but alas, the plague that has been encroaching on my entire life and despite my compromised immune system, I was stubborn and kept pushing myself. But I hit a point where I needed to do something. So, several antibiotics and tea cups later, I am back to my normal self (fingers crossed. I spilled salt today but I proceeded to throw it over my shoulder so hopefully no bad luck will be following me). Regardless of my mystery disease, I did get out some content this week that I’m pretty proud of.

First, was my GA story on local stores Cool Stuff and Hot Box Cookies. I was assigned this story when my editor got an email from the owner of Cool Stuff saying that he was closing his store for good. Now, this store’s a pretty big deal in Columbia. They’ve been around for a good 23-so years, and I was glad to get a story. But, when I called the owner, he didn’t pick up. And continued to do so after many, many calls. So I decided to swing by the store to talk to him, which came to no avail. I ran into a Cool Stuff employee who was locking the doors when I got there—and I was immediately confused. It was about 12:15. Why were they closing early when they said they’d be open until 6? So I came back to the newsroom and started to call other sources. It wasn’t until I met up with the owner of Hot Box Cookies where I learned some realities behind the closing of Cool Stuff—Arnie Fagan, the shop’s owner, was actually in the process of making a deal with a national apparel to take over the premises of both Cool Stuff and Hot Box Cookies (Fagan is the landlord of the two shops’ building) and Corey Rimmel, the owner of Hot Box, was not happy about it. So rather than write about the closing about Cool Stuff and the clearance sale (that’s still going on until next Wednesday, if anyone’s interested), I wrote about this interesting little tidbit about what I learned of the intentions behind Cool Stuff’s new clearance move. It was a little chase of a story, but it was fun to write.

I also went to a work session for the school board on Thursday with my co-reporter, Allie Hinga. By the way, she did a GREAT story on Eliot Battle this week, and it’s well worth the read. For this school board story, we were writing about the work session, but mainly we were focusing on the transfer policies that have been debated by both the school board and the community for a while. School redistricting plans were recently passed here, and transfer for students were clearly going to become the next big thing. So, essentially, this work session was focusing on the decision on two transfer policies, the general transfer policy and the transfer policy regarding the redistricting (which would focus on the timeline of our new high school, Battle, opening in fall 2013). Getting solid experience in reporting like this is really beneficial because it helps you develop a quick turn rate for a story that needs to be published immediately. Allie’s a great partner and has really aided me through the process. We’ve learned some good things to aid our reporting, like skeletons for our stories and drawing diagrams and doing a LOT of research before the events we cover. We’ve both run into our own problems—being overwhelmed, getting caught in the weeds in the details of what they talk about, and even simply understanding everything, from HVAC air conditioning bids to the transfer policy itself. But I think we have, and will, get very good at our school board coverage. It’ll take devotion and devotion to detail. I think our personalities bounce well off each other, and we were just talking the other day about how it’s nice to have someone else there to verify everything.

We’re also working on the school board elections as they draw near. I don’t know if I posted about this before, but we did recently posted some micro-bios of the candidates who are running, and now we’re working on community outreach as we develop our approach to elections and coverage of the candidates. I’m excited to see how our coverage comes out.

Education for the win!

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