Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Little More History On My Journalism Background

In 1985 I was hired by the now defunct Colorado Springs Sun newspaper to work as a summer intern. This was a libertarian newspaper which really did not mean that much to me, I was just happy to get a paid job as a writer. It was minimum wage pay so I worked a second job at my mom's retail candle store in the evenings. My then boyfriend said he admired my dedication to working so hard and for so many hours. He is an engineer. His father is an engineer. Does he think I was working all these hours because I really wanted to or because perhaps because neither my father nor I are engineers? Oh well.

Then then editor of the newspaper was in the midst of some kind of emotional breakdown. Unknown to me was the fact the paper was for sale to the largest rival in the city: The Gazette Telegraph. The editor would come in the morning singing show tunes and by mid-morning he was already screaming at reporters in a rage. I was never the target of his rages. I was the target of the obese reporter in front of me.

I don't know what it is with women and weight. Oprah is obessessed with the topic. She has eating disorder experts on her show continuously. It annoys me. I want to have my eating disorder in peace. I don't need to be pelted with her parade of experts and the like. Oprah, I hereby ban you from my house. You have been silenced. Anwyay, the obese reporter spent most of the summer making comments about my size. I was and remain fairly tiny. She also chain smoked. This was long before smoking was banned in newsrooms. I spent the summer thankful for assignments that got me away from her smoking and her eating disorder issues.

When I was a reporter in Eatonville, Washington on a small weekly in 1990, my editor had effectively alienated the entire law enforcement community. I would go to the police station to get reports and get pelted with infomation about what a beeeoootttccchhh my editor was. They said I was an excellent writer, which they said would result in my demise at the paper as she would be threatened by me and let me go as she had a string of reporters. I stayed until she said they could not pay me anymore and then I left. I was glad to be free of her leering bizarre jealous fests in which she questioned me and yet also told me I was a great writer. Sometimes she even gave me a byline for my articles and photos.

On a local weekly the publisher asked me to lunch to introduce himself to me. I was looking forward to a nice lunch. While eating, he informed me that he used to be a real sleazy man, having slept with many women. I informed him that I am a reading whore, having read nearly everything in site. This was an excellent subject change and the rest of the lunch was tolerable.

At a weekly, it was a total fun fest. The editor of The Tacoma Reporter knew I have a wicked sense of humor and he let me use it to its fullest extent. We spent one morning calling public officials and asking them when they were available to talk to us. The officials gave varying answers, most indicating they were not available at all. One even hurled an expletive, which I then quoted in my story. He later apologized to me stating Mondays are not his best days. Our article was headlined, "Why I Don't Like Mondays." My editor wrote the most consistent funny headlines.

Right now I am an upaid blogger. This is what it has come down to. My massage therapist says I am writing but for no pay. I told him it's like training for a race. I am in training for the paid bit. I will get paid again. Let me get in shape first. And I am giving myself my own byline. -Alison Whiteman

5 comments:

NineInchNachos said...

Wow the Tacoma Reporter!? I am obsessed with that publication having watched it vaporize. Do you remember that column 'Trib watch' ? I'm trying to track down an example for my book of political cartoons. Also have you talked to Kevin anymore about getting this blog set up to appear on feedtacoma.com ?

Thanks!

Tacoma Gawker said...

I did talk to Kevin. I thought I gave him the information. Perhaps he needed more information? Yes, I do remember the 'Trib Watch' column. The Trib folks made fun of us, but they sure read our paper. LOL

syrVIV said...

how interesting alison!

don't get started on engineers. quality. +- are you worthy? lol!

i loved your lunchtime subject change! sounds like the weekly publisher was still on the sleazy side! i admire your quick wit!

writing is your passion! follow your heart!

syrVIV said...

i meant to say: don't get ME started on engineers! oops!

Tacoma Gawker said...

Bah ha ha! Let's all not get stared on the engineers and thank you. Once I remove my fallen face from my breakfast, writing really is my passion.