Whew. What an emotional journalism day. It started out simple - write stories on my laptop while archiving photos on my desktop. Add writer's block with a touch of error messages while burning CDs and you've got a big heap of mounting frustration.
Perks - The boss did bring in a box of leftover coffee from a meeting this morning. Free refills all morning - now jittery from caffeine. Comic relief - cow at large. Do I go cover it? I've got enough to do and we're not that kind of newspaper. Although it times I wish things were slow enough around here we could be. More frustration - My mother caught a spelling error while reading a story online. It was an error that made the print edition that I THOUGHT I had caught and marked in the proof reading process. Top that off with glitches throughout the Web site anyway and no time to post any updates. More comic relief - a local man who had run for state office comes in with a complaint. He showed up on the arrest report - taken straight from what the police department gives us. He didn't deny the crimes, but claimed he wasn't actually arrested, just issued citations. He then goes on to talk about a restraining order against him. Assault and trespassing charges. Restraining order. Then, as he's walking out, in all seriousness, turns and says, "You know, I think I will run again in 2010." Right. Back to frustration - with the Web and writing. Oh, and I have to go to special olympics - NOW. Rush out the door.
Less stress - Special Olympics is one of the those feel-good stories - both for you and the reader. Back to the office - It's almost 5 p.m. and I haven't accomplished half of what I hoped to today. Deadline looms tomorrow. A quick scan of the e-mails before plugging away at the paragraph factory again in hopes of getting out of the office soon. Then the reminder it's not just a paragraph factory. The payoff - There's an e-mail from a high school senior who just graduated. She's thanking me for talking to her journalism class and giving her an opportunity to have her columns printed in the paper. She thanked me for giving her confidence. Is the cold coffee supposed to taste salty - or are those tears?
We recently switched to paid obituaries. You get the first 70 words free and then we charge after that. This means we, the editorial staff, do not touch the obituaries. As an editor it irks me a little that there is no consistency on style, but I can get past that. It has caused a few problems though. One person came in and complained about the names we left out and we should have put so-and-so's half brother once removed from California in there - or something like that. We tried multiple times to explain we print exactly what the funeral home gave us as is. We can check to see if something was inadvertently omitted, but it should be exactly as they gave it to us. So if there's a problem you need to check with the funeral home or the members of the family who worked with funeral home to writ the obit. "Oh well, I guess maybe you didn't have enough space to list all the names," she replied with sigh - as though we did something wrong. Some people just don't get it. Then there was the funeral home that misspelled the name of the cemetery in town, but insisted it was the correct spelling. I drive by the sign everyday and have looked it up in the past. Sorry, funeral home, you're wrong. We have to change that one. Really, you can't win with obits.
Some people think the name of this blog is stupid. But I don't. So I stuck with it. I chose "Cold Coffee" because often times, when I'm trying work work, news happens. There's a flurry of activity of an exciting - or sometimes painful - news day. And at the end, I realize I haven't had time to hardly touch my coffee. I reach for the mug, put it to my lips and realize how frigid it has become. It's cold coffee left for me as I reflect on the news day. So there's your title explanation. The URL explanation: "coldcoffee" - catchy, I think, so do others - was already taken. So I needed something kitschy instead. Enter mugsofvalor. No the reason to start the blog. It's something I've always wanted to do and feeling overwhelmed I needed a release - Yahoo games are getting old. I feel this could be a more productive way of procrastinating work than word games. I'll let that sink in a moment... Also, I was so inspired by a photo Mike Ekey posted - Wednesday Weekly - I decided to base many of the posts on Shoe comic strips. OK, back to work and my coffee - before it gets cold.
I'm an editor of a small-town weekly newspaper in Anytown, USA - no really, there's a subdivision here where every house has either a truck or boat in the driveway and basketball goal or soccer net (some with all four).
Daily I deal with the struggles of community journalism in a town where everybody knows your name - which can be very good or very bad at times.