Category Archives: Journalism

Resourcefulness & Reviews

I live in the Midwest, so this La Nina winter is wreaking havoc on the weather. Not that this is particularly new – Indiana weather is always a pain in the butt. It’s winter from October straight through to May, sometimes longer, and then you better not blink or you’re gonna miss the five seconds of summer we’re allowed before autumn kicks in.

Anyhow, Boyfriend and I were watching Spirited Away and eating ice cream sandwiches last night, and we hear the tornado sirens go off. The people in his building must be some special flavor of idiot, because it’s storming and we’ve all been alerted of a tornado watch for the better part of the day, and people decide that they should go outside. Um, sorry? What? Everyone milled around for a good fifteen minutes before heading down to the basement. Boyfriend grabbed his laptop and my Kindle, and while he futzed about on the interwebs, I curled up and finished Misti Wolanski’s Fistful of Fire.*

After a good, solid hour of sitting on the uncomfortable basement floor and listening to the hodgepodge of cultures (at least four different ethnicities were crammed into that basement) converse, we finally heard the obnoxiousness of the sirens fade away, and Boyfriend and I finished Spirited Away in peace. I’d never seen it – he had – and I found that I really enjoyed the old-school fairytale element to the plot. I also very much like Miyazaki; I’ve seen Princess Mononoke once or twice, and Howl’s Moving Castle – despite the rather sudden “I love you!” at the end – is one of my favorite films and books. So, it’s no surprise that I very much enjoyed this film, too.**


At any rate, I’m now starting some H.P. Lovecraft for the first time†††, and I’m hoping that I won’t regret my choice: At the Mountains of Madness. I’m only about twenty, thirty pages into it, and I can’t decide whether I enjoy it yet or not – so far all they’re talking about is drills, and planes, and ice, and I just cannot make myself care.

In other news, two stories I wrote for the Indiana Statesman got run today. Nothing too terribly exciting – one about a thing we do here called RezFest and, the more enjoyable of the two to write, ISU’s celebration of Earth Day.

‘kay bored now.

ALSO: Happy birthday to my sister, Emily! She’s 19 today!

* As per usual, my review will go at the end of the post, to avoid potential spoilers. Also, I can’t figure out how to a lj-cut style “read more” thing, so until someone figures that out, I have to do this the dumb way.

** I’m actually a big fan of anime, although the list of what I’ve seen is not nearly as extensive as some of my Guildies’. I’m very particular about what I watch.*** Perhaps at some point I’ll make a post about my anime experience.

*** Please don’t tell anyone I’ve watched Chobits.†

† Or Fruits Basket.††

†† Or Absolute Boyfriend.

††† *gulp*

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Journalism Woes

I’ve always made a point to do my best when I’ve been given a job, and doubly so when I’m being paid. I hated working at Dairy Queen every single day that I was there – my feet hurt, the customers all deserved to be punched repeatedly, and my more than three-quarters of the people I worked with were lazy, belligerent slobs. But when I was in charge in Chill in the summertime, I ran it like I’d been born to do it. I cleaned. I made sure the product I was handing out was presentable. I earned three commendation pins in six weeks, and customers asked for me by name when they wanted something done right.

This past academic year, I’ve been getting paid to do something I actually love to do: write. Granted, it’s journalism, not fiction, but it’s still writing, and it’s still getting my name out there and creating a platform for when I start submitting queries to agents and the like.

I started out doing a weekly opinion column every Friday, the topics of which I tried to focus around geekery – Kindles, my favorite author, the RP and geek culture, etc. I talked about graphic novels, fanfiction, and once I bemoaned the fact that people who frequent fast food establishments are generally inconsiderate morons.

After the spring semester started, I got bumped to news reporting and the occasional feature article, and suddenly instead of sitting down for less than an hour and churning out a 400-500 word article about why I think Neil Gaiman should be canonized, I spend three or four hours a day tracking down sources, getting interviews done either via phone or email (I don’t do too well in person, for some reason), squishing everything together in 400-500 words, and then editing it. Which is great, I love being busy, and I love what I’m doing, and I love getting paid to do something I’m good at. My boss is very keen on helping me learn how to actually write news pieces – my first article made it very clear that I was used to writing fiction – and it’s always nice when a source emails be about an article I interviewed them for and tells me I did a great job. Dr. Robert Hunter of ISU nearly brought me to tears with his compliments, both in an email and in a subsequent interview, in regards to the story that I wrote about the unrest in the Middle East.

I guess I just wish that I got paid more. I mean, yeah, it’s a student publication and I do maximum three stories a week, but I get paid in the single digits per article, and that’s before taxes are taken out. When I was just sitting down to write my weekly column, that was fine, because I was putting half an hour into it, and I didn’t have to do edits – it just went straight to print. Less than ten bucks for that? Absolutely. But when I’m spending fifteen hours a week working on this stuff, and then I’m getting paid roughly fifteen bucks a week… that just doesn’t sit right with me. I understand that I don’t work in an office, so I don’t get paid hourly. But this stuff takes a lot of legwork, and right now I just kind of feel like bitching about it.

In other news, here look at some stuff I cross-stitched:

Ta-ta for now, chillens.