October has been a busy month in the Newsroom.
Before going any further, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add: we live for these moments. The slow moments, while few and far between are the times we sort of take a breath. Seasons of experience in the “small town news” business have taught us all, our lulls are temporary at best.
In short, we’ve learned to become a master of the dance. I’d be equally remiss, if I did not acknowledge our gratitude towards our stringers, as well as community members who help us out in a pinch via photo submittal or details on events we just simply can’t make.
I make no apology when I share, these days, we are one small but mighty crew. In a time when the dance seems to be getting a bit faster, as a news crew we seem to be melding as a team like never before. Laughter around this building tends to be in abundance these days. There are nights I leave the building beaming and wondering if our laughter is from joy, delirium or plain both.
The month of October in our varying communities, tend to mimic May a bit by way of not just activities, but photo ops.
The past several weeks have held so many such events, that there are moments I’ve had to remind myself I’m a writer who also takes my own photos. That’s a small town news thing, always has been.
I used to love when we’d get the call requesting we send out a photographer, only to be met by a blank stare of confusion once I’d arrive on the scene with my Cannon Rebel. Yep. One and the same, that’s me.
Fortunately, as a staff we love taking photos almost as much as writing. One of us (colleague Virginia Still) is the more skilled of the bunch behind the lens and often finds her plate heaping as we look to her to help us with certain assignments by way of photos.
I shared before, as active community members, as well as the media, it’s a rare occasion that we attend events as ourselves. It’s become so common honestly, that one such event I recently attended I was asked by my date if I’d be wearing my camera.
Recognizing the importance of attending the event as the date and not the newspaper girl, it was nice to be able to share we had indeed trusted that duty to a stringer. Once on scene, little black dress minus camera, it was nice to simply touch base with my helper and return to the social setting.
As fun as it is to be the newspaper girl, in communities who not only feel they know us, but so openly appreciate us, sometimes it nice to just be, well, me.
That sentence actually makes me chuckle, as most who know me, know I don’t have a work persona which is different than my simple self. Yet somehow what I’ve come to notice as of late is people tend to loosen up a bit, when they recognize we’re visiting more candidly than perhaps a prior camera wearing occasion.
The beauty of this is that often times, it leads to yet another story. A reality we’ve all come to embrace and somewhat rely on. Camera in hand or not, if we’re local, we’re always working. Call it an occupational hazard, a passion for our communities or quite simply the nature of the beast. Whichever it may be it’s something we all seem to gain a chuckle from when recounting events with one another in the Newsroom.
So, as we stare down the hustle and bustle of Harvest, which leads us to the Holidays know this, we’re happy to be there. As a staff, it’s not only our honor, but out pleasure to serve these communities. We live for the final product come Wednesday morning, almost as much as the parent of the cute kid featured in our pages. It’s a privilege to serve communities who still see a value in not just what we do, but how dedicated we try and remain to making it all happen.
We know, we don’t always get it right, but when our feet go up (for half a second), we stare at one another with a bag of candy and take a breath … know this; we aren’t just laughing but smiling at our good fortune to serve such wonderful people.
Thank you and … We’ll see you soon.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.