Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Catching My Second Wind

I'll be honest: sometimes I'm not always in the mood to write a news story. Sometimes I just want to read a book, watch a good movie or write poetry instead. Today was one of those days.

I love my internship and I love the people I work with. So when I sat down at my desk I was happy to be there--until I looked at my assignment sheet and saw the list of articles I'm in the process of working on. Then, I just wanted to go for an unnecessary coffee run and waste time texting, tweeting, blogging and facebook creeping. Anything but sitting down and working on a news story.

In my 4 months working at my internship, this was the first time that I just 'wasn't in the mood.' It probably had more to do with senioritis and exhaustion than anything else; but the point was that I couldn't focus for two hours to write a 12'' story. That's bad.

It wasn't until one of my sources called me back around 1 p.m. that I was motivated to write again. My source has been living with dystonia (a neurological movement disorder) for the past nine years. She got it while mixing medicine with a particular virus she had. As I'm asking her basic questions like "how has it affected your life?" and "have your friends been supportive" I became more intrigued by the person....

She answered every question with a positive attitude. Not once did she mention "my life sucks now because of this disease " or "I wanted to sue my doctor" or anything along those lines. When I got to the point of the story (the fact that this woman has been named Citizen of the Year in her town) she became my hero of the day.

The reason she is the recipient is because she gives back to the community. She is on boards, she founded a food pantry and she organizes an event every year to raise money for research for her disease. The best part of it all, is that she did this all before she even had the disease. Basically, the disease may have slowed her down, but it definitely didn't kill her spirits and didn't ruin her life.

As a result, the second I hung up the phone, I immediately took a sip of water, popped in a piece of gum and started writing her story.

Which brings me to the point of this post: today I got a little 'reminder' as to why I got into journalism in the first place. I want to use the written word to educate the public on important people like the woman I interviewed today.

Sometimes I forget what journalism is all about when I turn on the TV or read a mainstream newspaper; they only publish sad, depressing or violent stories. I get it's because those are the type of stories that sell papers, but they aren't the only ones.

Journalism is also about reporting people's successes; reporting the happy ending. This woman reminded me of that when I needed it the most.

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