I can’t remember how old I was the first time I interviewed someone. Seven? Eight?
The subject also remains fuzzy, but it was undoubtedly one of my grandparents, graciously answering my nosy questions with a feigned formality that made me feel, even then, like a real reporter.
What I also can remember is the weight in my hands of that, by today’s standards, massive tape recorder. It was the heavy black kind with a handle and a built-in microphone, the kind every kid of the ’60s and ’70s placed next to our console TVs to record our favorite shows or movies. (I suspect my sister, Rebellious Val, still has her cassette tape recordings of “Superman” and “Grease” somewhere.)
I knew even then that I wanted to be a reporter. I loved hearing people’s stories and retelling them. I loved to write and to paint pictures with my words. As I got older and learned more about what being a reporter meant, I loved that journalism has the power to right wrongs and create change.
What has me thinking about all of this is working with the students at the NLGJA convention in Boston this week. This is my seventh year serving as a mentor with the Student Project, and and while the scenes and students have changed, the experience is always similarly fulfilling. Working with the students isn’t really work at all. Their enthusiasm for journalism is infectious, and it reminds me of my own torrid, on-again/off-again love affair with our profession.
What also has me thinking is that I’ve, again, come to a crossroads in my relationship with journalism. I’ve been here several times before, and each time we’ve persevered together.
I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that the magazine is on, ahem, hiatus at the moment. Some content has been updated, but some clearly has cobwebs.
All I can tell you is that traveling four days a week, week after week, is more grueling than I expected. I naively thought I could travel full-time for my day job AND single-handedly: write, assign and edit stories, take and edit photos, write and post columns, send out weekly mailings, tweet daily and manage consistent relationships with our amazing staff of writers, bloggers, columnists and all-around bad-ass Rebelles.
Yeah, not so much.
We’re not dead, we’re merely resting, and expect to hear more from me in the coming weeks about our reboot/relaunch. Thank all of you for your support, it means more than I can say. And thanks for reading.
And thank you, journalism, for always being here when I’ve needed you.