Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Then and Now

A month ago....

I packed my bags again and filled up my car and drove more than 800 miles from Spring to Espanola New Mexico. Things didn't work out at The Facts long term, so I searched for another newspaper or news outlet to work for. This time I looked for a weekly because the daily pace was wearing me out.

As luck would have it, I got about 4 or 5 callbacks from newspapers hiring in Sherman TX, Grand Rapid City Michigan, Iowa, Argus Media and the Woodlands, but I had already accepted an offer to spend a weekend in New Mexico about 30 miles distance from Santa Fe to interview with the Rio Grande Sun.

 I recall spending my last night in Spring having dinner with my roommate at T.G.I.F. and being excited over the possibility of working for the Sun.

The newspaper paid for my stay at a hotel during the hiring process and 3 days later I was offered a position as education reporter and all that was left to do was to look for an apartment. After spending a relaxing week in Arizona with my sister, I was still apprehensive. I recall having breakfast with my brother-in-law and feeling sort of homeless, it isn't easy to take a leap of faith and all I knew is I had to spend a few days in a hotel because I had nothing lined up, as luck would have it I found a place I liked 10 minutes from the newsroom.

I have settled in quite nice in my new newsroom. I think I am having success in adapting to the style and editorial demands of the education beat at the Sun. At least once a week I cover a board of education or school related meeting and my reports on two school lockdowns and recent school rankings in the state have graced our front page.

There are some really cool things about this place, the Indian Casinos, the community feel of a small town, some cool mom and pop stores and indie shops. Santa Fe is only a 25 mile drive away which offers more in the way of the big city life style I am accustomed to. It makes for a cool weekend getaway.

A year ago....

On all days, my mom's birthday, I packed my bags in my car and made the the long trek from Covina CA to Spring Texas. It was over 1,500 miles of driving through three states, but I was eager to work with Community Impact in Houston.

I made some good friends in Houston but I also struggled, and every day, even now, I long to go back to Covina to visit my family and friends I left behind, to visit my old haunts. I am beyond stoked over the possibility of seeing them during the holidays this fall. 

I will continue to fight the good fight, and now that I have internet hooked back up in my home I promise to make more entries in this here, the old blog 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eight Months Later: The calm before the storm (literally)

It had been my intention to update this blog on a regular basis detailing my professional life and my writing endeavors in Texas. Somehow, things got so hectic that I was never able to jump on this virtual journal until now!

So much happened in such a brief amount of time, it is difficult to encapsulate or even internalize or process it all. Suffice it to say that I became quite comfortable with Spring and my surroundings and region, but as often happens in life "Just when you think it's all downhill, life throws you a curve" (Thank you poster from my 5th grade classroom for that bit of philosophy and insight)

On the professional side, I covered the Spring/Klein region for Community Impact newspaper for the better part of 7 months. While working under editor Matt Stephens, I learned a great deal about the C.I. style, although I never truly fit into the scheme of things.

I think in retrospect part of my inability to quickly adapt to the newspaper's style was not due to my inexperience with hyperlocal journalism, as I was previously doing a lot of local coverage while at AOL patch and other outlets, but I think it was mostly due to my being more accustomed to writing for weeklies as opposed to a monthly edition and very different deadlines and time elements.

My employment with C.I. came to an end on May 18 of this year, just before the memorial day holiday and right before the first round of storms which pelted the region for several days and left parts of Houston flooded and distraught. Fortunately for me, Spring wasn't as battered by the flooding and rain which crippled some of the area and took some people's lives.

The same could not be said of my ego and confidence. Here I was, one day sitting in my bedroom and trying to figure out what my next move should be. Should I move to Arizona with relatives and loved ones? Or should I give Houston one more chance even though things had not gone as planned? Was it time to throw in the towel?

Before I answer, I have to say that I was very fortunate to make really good friends with co-workers. The members of my editorial team for example, were invaluable in making me feel at home, as much as an out of towner can feel. I like to think that I made some really good friends in a short period of time.

Also, I give props to my therapist. I don't think I am ashamed to say I sought professional help with some of the transplant issues I was having, being alone in a new region with my family and friends scattered throughout the country.

I am happy to report that the answer to my previous query was a resounding no. I was not yet ready to throw in the towel, I resolved to remain working in print media, to fulfill my mission of ingraining myself in a community. Within 10 days of leaving C.I. I had job offers from publications as far north as Amarillo Texas and Wyoming.

It wasn't easy, let me share that, I worked and networked my butt off.

Ultimately,  I opted to stay local and have begun a professional relationship with The Facts, a daily newspaper covering Brazoria County, south of Houston.

I am eager to get back to steady writing (and blogging) again. But I have to get through this mess first