General Assignment, round one

(I hope you’re doing the HIMYM salute in your head too…)

I’ll be working at The Missourian all semester as both a public safety and health beat writer and a general assignment reporter. Wednesday marked my first shift on General Assignment at The Missourian.

If you aren’t familiar with the newsroom world, let me explain GA. You come in at 8 a.m. (read: 7:50 a.m.), while the newsroom is generally quiet and a little too still. You come and go for classes and meetings as your schedule demands. You also write. Yes, you will write as a reporting student. Shocker, I know. You and the rest of your shift of reporters write whatever comes in, whatever needs attention. You check in on arrests and warrants. You pick up documents from the courthouse. You start looking into leads and sources for new stories. You scan social media for emerging news or topics.

A totally average daily view of a student journalist.
A totally average daily view of a student journalist.

Speaking from the perspective of a wanna-be reporter, it’s pretty awesome. It’s real world experience. I know that sounds cheesy and cliché. That’s because it is. It’s a we’re-gonna-throw-you-in-because-we-know-you-know-how-to-swim sort of experience, and sometimes you need that. I know I do.

I love bullet lists. If any of you have learned one single thing you know to be an absolute truth about me, it’s that I love a good bullet list. So, of course, here’s a short rundown of today’s events:

  • Walked to courthouse. Walked back. Promptly melted into a puddle because it is 80 degrees outside and I was not prepared.
  • Ate the loudest, most crunchy apple of my lifetime thus far.
  • Came to the sinking realization that I’m going to need to purchase even more business casual attire. I’m not quite sure why I can’t wear the same shirt and skirt combo every single day…
  • Learned the world “charticle” in Budget
  • Sang the line “blue moooooon” as a staff in Budget
  • Discussed the possibility of spray tans and first-person journalism
  • Giggled (maniacally, in my case) over this Buzzfeed article.
  • Guzzled a Naked Juice like you would not believe (thank you, low blood sugar).
  • Sweat. A lot. Thank you, humidity.
  • Listened to the police scanner. Let my jargon fangirl flutter.

And then there was a fire. With 11 units called in. More than 30 minutes after I was supposed to leave. And guess who got to cover it?

My first (and probably not last) experience covering a fire.
My first (and probably not last) experience covering a fire.

That’s right.

It was awesome. (Don’t worry: No one was injured.) (Also, check my Twitter for links to my articles as they’re posted.)

I was on shift from 7:50 a.m. to 11:18 p.m. I am tired and hungry and absolutely sure I have chosen the correct career path.


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