I was thinking the other day that there is no job quite like being a journalist.
My real rad fiancé, Grant Kohlmeier, loves to remind me that this job is the reason I got to talk to Monty Python alum John Cleese, which I still refer to as a top five day of my life. We love to reminisce about when Cleese came to town and read an article I wrote on stage about how a lawnmower ran over a squirrel. I am also frequently shocked to remember I interviewed Paula Poundstone.
Thinking through it, though, being a journalist gives you so many opportunities to write about something that other people may not get to experience, or experience in a different way, all for the cost of writing it (hopefully) in a meaningful way.
Some of my favorite stories to write have been the ones that took me someplace.
After the Hale Library fire last May, we’ve been fortunate to tour Hale a few times to get a glimpse into what they’re doing to fix and rebuild what was lost to transform it into something that students will love. I’ve covered Country Stampede three times, which is at least two more times than I ever thought I’d ever step foot into a country music festival.
Being a journalist means taking a lot of tours. Before they opened, I toured Widgets Family Fun with the owners. It’s always interesting getting to be someplace that isn’t quite finished and knowing they have a vision and trying to convey that vision in words.
Without this job, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to go into a Blackhawk helicopter or into the BRI at K-State.
I also wouldn’t have met all the interesting people.
I’ll be completely honest, writing feature stories was always the worst part for me in high school and college journalism classes. People are interesting, but I just always worry about not writing it to the best of my ability. I always want to do rewrites to make this paragraph stronger or that introduction better. With news coverage, it’s too easy; you just say what they did at the meeting, say what they said and what the impact is. Maybe taxes go up or maybe kids just get new textbooks.
However, in this job, we write a feature on a person for every Monday/Tuesday paper. There have been so many times where I’ve been (almost) tearing my hair out looking for a neighbor who wasn’t too busy this week or wasn’t too shy to be featured.
Interviewing and writing the neighbor articles has been such a great thing for all of us, though. I love when I walk into a store and see someone I’ve talked to about their life. My neighbors have run the gamut — a lobbyist, teachers, professors, “junkers,” bakers and more. This town has such a diversity that should be celebrated, and that we try our best to highlight.
Most importantly, you’ve learned a lot about me because of journalism and these columns. Everyone knows and adores Frankie the kitten (who is still so small and adorable and turns one on Aug. 31!) and that my dad is my favorite person to tease.
And now, to get him off my back, everyone knows who my real rad fiancé is. If that’s not the best way to end my time at The Mercury, I don’t know what is.