Making deadlines and community connections


CATHERINE KRUSE, Evergreen life editor

There were times when I was on the verge of tearing my hair out, cursing my job and wondering why I stuck with it for so long. Then, there were times when I ended a phone interview and squealed in excitement over the story I wrote.

I had a background of high school newspaper work and I was addicted to writing like an alcoholic is to liquor (and I still am obsessed). So, I figured why not?

Four years and 250 plus articles and columns later, I am still trying to wrap my head around leaving the Evergreen upon graduating.

I took a job as a reporter because I wanted to learn more about the area and I loved to write.

Taking a part-time job in college meant I would get extra spending money for myself. That also meant I had to balance a full-time school schedule, work and all my extracurricular activities. Not to mention my marching band schedule.

Luckily, I found that a reporter has rather flexible hours. I had meetings one day a week and deadlines for my stories. Beyond that, I just had to arrange interviews around my classes.

It wasn’t always easy, though. Sometimes, I had to plan my day around someone I expected to call, and if they didn’t call when I expected them to, it felt like an entire day wasted and it would irritate me to no end.

Sources for articles may not respond to me even when I call and email them. Even worse, they might not be in their office when I track them down. Whenever that happened, and a week passed without a story, I felt a mix of frustration and disappointment.

No story means I cannot make deadline. It means my section is one story short, and that could affect the layout of the paper. Or at least that’s what I thought because I held myself to a high standard.

I dedicated my work ethic to being reliable and flexible. The more time I spent and the more experience I got taught me how to handle my work better and only do what I can manage. When I pushed myself too hard, it affected my health. I had to learn that nothing should be more important than keeping myself physically and mentally healthy.

I have plenty of stories to tell from working here. Stories of the people I met and things I saw, like a couple Hawaiian performers whom I later discovered knew my great-grandfather.

This job was my only professional work experience, and I don’t regret staying for so long. I know this community better through the people I met.