The ink jockey gets a foothold

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In January, I’ll celebrate my first anniversary of being a newspaper reporter. Prior to this new phase, I worked in book publishing and dabbled in freelancing for friends and copy editing for a hunting magazine.

After nine months of working in Columbiana, however, I feel like I’m finally getting my feet under me — knock on wood, of course.

Now, I have to admit that a reporter’s schedule is rarely the same to the day before, and the newsflashes break up the possible monotony. Daily, we receive emails and calls about potential story ideas or saddening incidents that make cringe-worthy headlines.

When I set up interviews, I much prefer to meet a story’s subject in person. I tend to fall head-over-heels into many of my stories, so I want to see the passion on the speaker’s face as he or she talks about the subject matter.

Plus, as all seven reporters sit in the same large room with no cubicle walls or barriers of any kind, I prefer to not bumble my way through a phone interview within earshot of my co-workers, though the conversations that freely flow are more than worth the broken-down walls of the newsroom.

The most interesting part of being an ink jockey is you, the person out there wanting his or her story to be heard and shared. People react in one of two ways in front of a reporter.

One, they’ll easily open up and share stories and information about events they’ve experienced, tasks they’ve accomplished or future ideas they would like shared.

The second group tends to be more reserved, waiting to warm up to the interviewer before divulging too much.

I would like to thank the residents of Shelby County.

When asked if I like my job, I often say that I like working for this paper, but I’m not sure if I would like working for just any paper.

The county we serve is full of good-hearted folks looking to see their cities prosper.

Thank you for helping this eager, albeit young reporter get her feet under her.

Christine Boatwright is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 16 or by email at