|Banks County Opinions...||
OCTOBER 16, 2002
By: Angela Gary
Well, I finally made it through my rookie year here at MainStreet Newspapers. Being a journalist is like being in any other public service-related industryyou always have a lot of stories to tell.
Take my loved ones, for example.
When I first told my boyfriend, James, that not only would I be reporting for his hometown newspaper, but that I would be writing an occasional opinion column as well, he flipped out (a little).
He thought I would write about him in every column or share details with the rest of the county about our personal lives. He didnt want any mention of his name and even suggested one night that I change my boyfriends name in each column, just to see if people actually read what I write. At the same time that hes insistent on anonymity, hell ask me to say hello to one of his old high school friends that I just interviewed. Well, a year later and Ive only mentioned his name three times in my columns (this marks the fourth).
But James probably doesnt even know that I am writing about him. Every time I bring him the first copy hot off the press, hell throw aside the A Section (where all of my written stories appear) and flip immediately to the social section to see which one of high school friends is getting married now.
Ive also learned in the past year that just because my family doesnt live in Northeast Georgia, doesnt mean I can write whatever I want about them. They check MainStreet Newspapers website often, just to see if Im calling them crazy or poking fun at their names or just calling them strange.
For that matter, people around here often ask me about my strange accent. Its MidwesternI grew up in Texas.
On another personal attribute, Ive realized in the past year that a lot of you think Im someone else. It took some awkward situations and few months to figure it out, but Im not Jana Adams.
For the record, Im really short with long, blonde hair. Jana Adams, another reporter, has dark brown hair and Yve Assad, our photographer, has curly hair. Find the blonde-headed reporter and thats me.
Funny, though, when I dyed my hair a few months ago (yes, Im admitting that I dyed my hair), I really didnt think anyone would notice. My hair was already dirty-blonde, but when I went straight blonde it seems like everyone had to make a comment about it. I dont care what Im coveringcity council meetings, crime scenes, feature stories, whateversomeone mentions my hair. One city council member recently flagged me down in my car just to give me his opinion on it. Honestly, I didnt think I changed my hair that much, but I guess I did.
Speaking of cars, around January I wrote a column about the new state teen driving laws. When I was writing that column I had a really bad feeling that I was going to get a speeding ticket the day after the column was published.
Two days after that column was published, I was driving to work and thinking, Well, its been two days. I guess that feeling was wrong.
Just then, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a police car racing after me. I had just received my first speeding ticket. Oops!
Back here at the MainStreet Newspaper office, Ive learned how to deal with a news room filled with male, sports reportersyou just dont listen to them.
Former sports editor Tim Thomas used to test my auditory skills the most. He knew I wasnt listening to everything, but every now and then he would throw out some random saying, just to see if I would protest his comments (I didnt).
Apparently, when Rochelle Beckstine used to occupy my desk, she would add spark to any controversial topic the guys were talking about. But, I usually just give them looks or roll my eyes and keep typing. (And Tim, I was listening.)
Overall, Ive learned a few other things through my work here at MainStreet Newspapers.
Some politicians will hate you just because youre a journalist; some politicians will love you just because youre a journalist. Wearing skirts isnt a good idea, because youll never know what youll be doing or what youll be walking into that day. And always have a camera, because news can happen anywhere.
There are also a few people I need to thank.
Thanks to all of the city clerks for answering my (many) questions. Thanks to the people at Subway in Jefferson for knowing what I order everyday.
Thanks to James parents for letting me crash at their home while I wait out meetings in West Jackson. And thanks especially to his mom for learning my meeting schedule and having dinner ready on those nights. Its been a great way to know the future in-laws (my mom is so jealous).
Kerri Graffius is reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
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