One of the most dramatic things I notice about not being in the newsroom is the novel feeling of not constantly being on deadline. Not only does a daily deadline tend to produce a steady undercurrent of stress, but if you're always focused on producing for the next day, it's really hard to plan ahead. Because my deadlines are now stretched out over longer periods, I'm much more able to see the bigger picture and be more conscientious about how I approach stories, what elements I can include, and how to best present them. I have small daily deadlines, little things I must tackle each morning, that keep me busy, but only for short periods of time, and after I accomplish those each day, I can then set my own pace. It's not a matter of being lazy, or even of not being busy, as I'm steadily working all day long, and often for longer hours than I worked previously. But it's about changing my viewpoint on projects, and feeling a different kind of pressure, one to do good work, and take the time to do it well. Meanwhile, a trip to the beach yesterday helped me feel even more positive about life and this new way of looking at work. These kids were having a lot of fun keeping away from the rising tide, and enjoying some unseasonably warm coastal weather.
I apologize for letting this thing go for so long. You see, having made the transition out of journalism into the "other side," I have one, been really busy concentrating on doing a good job, and two, felt a bit guilty about bemoaning the state of journalism in my blog and then admitting that I've bailed. The good news is I'm feeling really happy with my decision. I love the university where I now work. The people are incredibly supportive and welcoming and have made the decision to move so much easier. Additionally, I'm doing so much writing, photography and layout that I feel like my creative side is being tapped in a way that it hadn't been for so long, as I slogged through the drudgery and low morale of being in a shrinking, sad newsroom where everyone felt scared and insecure. One of the many things that newsroom prepared me for was working under pressure, and making changes on the fly. That has come in handy in surprising ways. While my deadlines are now totally different and ever-changing, what has thrown me for a loop is the number of new technologies I'm tackling, things that I am having to learn quickly and which, once learned, simply lead to new challenges. I've had a lot of those in the past month, and I feel like my ability to adapt and absorb is in large part due to my training as a journalist. I think we are asked to have a certain type of brain flexibility in our work that makes us really valuable no matter what we end up doing later. I'm hoping that kind of thing is what helps me fight dementia when I get older, as they say using your brain in new ways is the best weapon against the onset of the kind of memory loss and confusion my grandmother is now facing. And because most of the people I work with come from newsrooms previously, I feel the same kind of camaraderie and understanding that I did in my former place of employment. I've settled in, painted my office, hung a bunch of my photographs, and even have gotten into wearing orange and black each Friday (hey, it involved shopping, so it's not all bad). I will try to be better about this blog now that I feel I have my feet under me in a certain way. I'm not planning on talking about work as much as creativity, my continuing observations on the industry, and perhaps seeking suggestions as new technological and editorial hurdles present themselves. (PS Blogger isn't letting me post photos so I'll try again later)
I'm a native Oregonian who, up until recently, has been reporting on local issues in Portland, Forest Grove and currently Corvallis. I am now an editor of an internal publication at a local university, making the transition from the newsroom to world of academia. I continue to write, photograph and explore the world of podcasting in my work, and am eager to explore my new opportunities.