Sunday, May 31, 2009
A bit of this, a bit of that
I'm starting to find my groove down here in small-town America.
I've had three stories published in the last two days, and two of them made A1 (front page of the paper for all you non-journalism folk). The good thing is that this week I was able to do stories where I was sitting down with people face-to-face, an aspect that had been alluding me in the first week on the job.
I know doing phone interviews is a part of the job at times, but nothing can bring out a story like a solid, sit-down interview. One thing that has helped me further my craft a great deal, is being solo with the interviewee. Covering a beat like ASU football, there are dozens of other reporters out asking questions. At times, it is a collaborative effort, as a slew of reporters ask the necessary questions.
With the one-on-one interviews that I am doing, I have to be fully prepared. I have put in a lot of effort to do my background research before interviewing the subjects, because if there are things I don't ask, then nobody will.
Last week, I interviewed the dean of the local UA campus, who is set to retire in September. He was a great guy to talk to, and we ended up chatting sports for half an hour, so that was fun.
The real rewarding experience I had last week came with an interview of 89-year-old Hank Kincaid. This guy was a hardened old-timer, who helped bring Buena High School (where I graduated) to Sierra Vista back in the 50s. He was sharp for someone about to enter his tenth decade of life on Earth.
Last night, I got to jump back into sports. I covered Opening Day for the Bisbee Copper Kings, a semi-pro team comprised mostly of small-college ballplayers trying to keep their game sharp over the summer.
I left the game with about a million story pitches in my head, which I am pretty sure the sports editor will be conducive to considering he has never shot down an idea I've come up with yet.
The Kings play their home games at Warren Ballpark, which was built in 1909 to provide a place of entertainment for the copper miners and their families. The grandstand, with its cracked wooden benches, hasn't changed for a century. By some accounts, it is the oldest, still-used stadium in the U.S. and precedes the construction of Wrigley Field by five years. I took a couple of pictures on my phone. They aren't the best, but they give an idea.
The place is just a baseball home that you picture in the World War II era films about the game. If you live in the area, you've got to check out a game. Hopefully, I'll be spending a good deal of time out there doing stories. This one wasn't my best, because with a combined 8 pitching changes, the game took a while, and I was on deadline to the max.