Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, August 08, 2005

Talking to Kids about Newspapering

So, everyone in the newsroom decided to take vacation/maternity leave/important assignments at the same time today. That meant there was an "Oh Shit" moment at about 8 this morning when it was discovered that kids from some day camp were coming for a tour of the newspaper and that some poor sucker was going to have to talk to them for 5 minutes about what exactly happens in a newsroom. The skeleton crew in the office passed the job around like a hot potato.

I accepted it because I fancy myself a man of the people, someone committed to demystifying the news process. Unfortunately, Monday is my layout day. That means I'm out of bed by 5:30 and staring at a computer for six hours straight. This is not conducive to being witty enough for fifth graders.

My speech went something like this: This is the newsroom, where the reporters sit. Each of us is an expert in a different area. Mine is sports. Others do city government and the environment. To find news we talk to people who are connected to our assignment and turn what they tell us into stories. Any questions?

Kid: Do you cover the Giants?
Me: No.
Same Kid: If you covered a really boring game, would you write it like it was interesting? Y'know, lie?
Me: No comment. Hey, why don't you see what's going on in the composing department?

By the way, if you run blogger's spell check on "newsroom," it suggests "mushroom."

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