This is what I’ve learned [in my first year of j-school].

Find them.

Recite the mantra. Recite it.

  1. It’s not stalking if you have a press pass. Don’t be afraid to call sources repeatedly to ask the right questions and get the necessary details. If you can master this lack of self-consciousness, you can master good reporting.
  2. Google before you tweet – the 2013 version of “think before you speak.” 
  3. Try your best to be kind to public relations/marketing/communications people. It will be difficult.
  4. Editors love when you give them nicknames. (I’m just kidding, they hate this.)
  5. You will never feel like you have done enough pre-reporting.
  6. You will never feel like you have asked enough questions during an on-background source interview.
  7. You will never feel like you have had enough coffee. (You probably haven’t.)
  8. Some days, you will go home after classes and reporting and pitching failed story ideas and incomplete coding projects and a hole in your mind where your extensive knowledge of JavaScript should be. You will call your mom and she will ask how your day was and you will burst into tears and you won’t stop to speak for a full 12 minutes. This is normal.
  9. You will be tempted to blog about weird characters while school board meetings are dragging on. Resist the temptation.
  10. You might accidentally call a professor (male or female) “Mom.” It will be weird.
  11. Try to avoid sleeping in the newsroom two nights in a row. It’s a slippery slope.
  12. When you see someone else at “your” seat in the newsroom, remember that sharing is caring.
  13. When you make a mistake in a story, as when you make a mistake in life, save face by taking responsibility and taking steps to fix the mistake fully, as quickly as possible.
  14. Your social life will consist of going to a bar with other reporters, sitting quietly in front of your drinks and contemplating your lives.
  15. Panels. Panels panels panels. Panels. The word will start to sound weird after you’ve attended 30 of them by October.
  16. People read your articles. They do. Just trust me.
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