Last Monday, I survived my first general assignment shift as a reporter for the Missourian. Since I had early morning classes, I decided to sign up for the late shift from noon to 8 p.m. I was extremely nervous all weekend, because I’ve never had any experience working in a newsroom before.
After spending a few hours manning the telephone desk, my assistant city editor (ACE) Ted Hart came walking toward me carrying a bright yellow vest. At first, I believed the attire was a longstanding initiation joke. I was about to become another victim of Missourian hazing.
However, it turned out the vest was not a joke. A freezer had caught fire at MU’s Mark Twain dining hall and I was being sent on my very first assignment. I suited up in the yellow atrocity with pride and jogged a few blocks to the fire. By the time I arrived, the freezer had already been extinguished and the action was over.
After interviewing one of the firefighters, I came back to the newsroom prepared to write a story. However, my ACE told me that unless the dining hall would be closed for an extended time period, the story wasn’t really worth covering. Since the damages were extremely minor, the dining hall never missed a beat. Although I was a little disappointed not to cover the fire, it was still very exciting to experience my first taste of on-scene reporting.
Later in the day, I wrote an obituary that was published in Tuesday’s paper. Although it wasn’t exactly what I imagined my first story would be, I was glad to ease my nerves and finally have a story published that I could be proud of. I had a really good first day as a general assignment reporter, and I can’t wait to do it again!