I have definitely neglected this blog lately, but with the end of my reporting semester at the Missourian, I needed some time away.
Now, I am officially a college junior (age-wise, that is) and embarking on my first paid internship at The Daily Journal in Kankakee, Ill. It is a copy editing internship run by the Dow Jones News Fund, who also offer internships in multimedia reporting, sports editing and business reporting.
I transitioned into the internship with a week-long grammar boot camp at Mizzou (I was lucky to be placed at my school), where 10 other interns and I discussed and practiced grammar, headline writing and copy editing. It sounds relatively nondescript, but it was actually very eye-opening.
With presentations by J-School professors such as Sandy Davidson, Jake Sherlock, Brian Brooks and Jen Reeves, we learned about various aspects of editing including, but not limited to:
- Communications law
- Headline writing
- Search engine optimization
- Grammar basics (which believe me, I benefited from)
- Design theory
- Word usage
- Using numbers and figures
It was a very useful workshop that also gave me the chance to meet and bond with other interns from across the country and play hostess to them by showing them around Columbia. We managed to hit some of my personal favorite culinary attractions in the District.
I will list some highlights here for the benefit of those who really care (ahem, Katie Artemas).
- Hot Box Cookies
- Casablanca (we went twice!)
- Yogoluv (also received multiple visits)
- Bangkok Garden
- Coffee Zone
- Café Berlin
Needless to say, I got my requisite fill of Columbia food, and I think my friends enjoyed the experience as well!
Also, we were the interim copy desk for the Missourian, which was a great introduction for me because I will be back working at the ICE Box (Interactive Copy Editing…box…get it?) in the fall.
All By Myself
My first visit to The Daily Journal newsroom was intimidating. I always get the nervous feeling when I walk into a bustling place where I do not know anyone. Luckily, Susy, the managing editor, and Terry, a copy editor, were welcoming and gave me a rundown of what I’d be doing.
I proceeded to move into my apartment, parents in tow, in the neighboring town of Bourbonnais. Sports fans, this is the home of the Chicago Bears summer training camp. I am actually living in an apartment a Bear might have lived in. Cool, I know.
After the flurry of moving in activities, my parents left…and I was alone. Completely alone. As in, there-is-no-one-else-even-in-the-building alone. And, being without Wi-Fi or a television, I didn’t have any friendly Food Network chefs to keep me company.
Needless to say, my first weekend passed slowly, full of mundane tasks such as grocery shopping (food is way too expensive), unpacking and chilling in Barnes & Noble and Starbucks for the free Wi-Fi and background noise. I do well by myself at Mizzou, but being alone in a new town without friends or family is not something I’d like to repeat. Although realistically, I probably will several times in my life.
Toto, I don’t think we’re in Missouri anymore
My first day as a copy editor at The Daily Journal was full of questions and many introductions (I am still trying to remember names). Much of my work is proofing pages, so my grammar and AP Style knowledge are quickly improving, though I like to think they were good to begin with.
I will say working at a new paper entails a bit of a learning curve. The Daily Journal is different from The Maneater or the Missourian.
- All copy editing is done by hand on the page.
- The newsroom is more spread out, so reporters and editors intermingle throughout the room.
- The paper is print-first, and though the site is frequently updated, there is a lot more emphasis put on print subscribers.
- The Daily Journal is not as active on social media as the papers I am used to working for; they tend to refer to their print or eEditions rather than their site.
Adjusting to their style and their way of maneuvering the production process has been strange for me. I am used to lots of technology, new technology, a heavy web-first emphasis, and a newsroom crowded with reporters, photographers and designers. This paper is much smaller, and while there are many kind people and similar sights and sounds that I am used to, it is different working with primarily students in a university setting. I suppose I have been spoiled by my good fortune to work at The Maneater, where there is never a dull moment, and the Missourian, where we are lucky to have the funds for new equipment and the constant innovation an academic, educational environment can provide.
I do really like the hyper-local focus The Daily Journal keeps. I loved reporting on local education, so I can appreciate the way much of the copy is community driven. It is what readers want to see and what actually helps me learn my way around a new community. And, since I am currently doing a lot of copy editing, my grammar is really getting quite good. Even writing this post I have constantly had to edit myself. I am also excited that working at a smaller paper will allow me to see more areas of the newspaper production process like web updating and design. My goal is to expose myself to as much as possible; that is what I think will make me marketable to future employers.
I suppose I will wrap this up now, coincidentally just as my first week is wrapping up. I look forward to continuing my internship and learning more about the Kankakee-Bourbonnais area. Just being somewhere new, geographically and journalistically, I am already doing a lot of thinking about the purpose of copy editing and the value editors still have. I can almost guarantee a future post about that topic, especially given the recent copy desks cuts across the country.