I’ve been a lame internet presence the past three weeks, because I just started my internship at The Dallas Morning News. I’m having a whole lot of fun and learning a whole lot of stuff about how I write too much and not conversationally enough. But more than anything, I’ve been spending the days with some truly hilarious and awesome people. In the cubicle next to me is an editor who mixes his Slim Fast half-and-half with ice cream (and is losing a lot of weight, by the way.) There are two lovely office managers who organized cook out in the parking garage this week. My editor, who is one 24-pack of Diet Pepsi from being my dad, spends his days “being the desk.” And additionally, the other interns are wonderful, because they are all as nerdy and chatty as I am.
I was very apprehensive upon starting. I mean, in MY newsroom, there’s a lot of yelling and inside jokes. And I follow Overheard Newsroom on twitter…that doesn’t help. But contrary to what I thought, when I’m out on assignment, other reporters and editors are sending me texts and emails saying things like “Don’t walk down the access road. Stay safe!” and Don’t forget to eat something.” Sometimes they print off directions for me even though my phone has a GPS. And above all, they are extremely patient. My editor helped me cut one of my stories in half, even though there was a substantial amount of Dallas County Controversy he was handling. Another editor spent half an hour helping me call the British Embassy, which was not easy to do through the DMN phone system.
I think we overlook these things when we aren’t expecting the worst, but when some one notices…it makes a big difference to them. So even though Tom probably doesn’t see it as likely that I’ll forget to eat or get run over on the access road or any of those things, the fact that he says something is a big deal to me. And even though Bruce could put up my story when it isn’t at its best or not put it up at all, the fact that he takes the time to go through it with me matters to me.
So now I’m thinking: what chances are we missing to reach people, just because we don’t think of these as a big deal? If it’s not a big deal, then why don’t we do it just for the possibility that we might reach someone like me, that it really changes things for.