Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


January 27, 2013

Time for a five-year anniversary photo

— — It took five years to make the photo switch at the top of this column. Funny, but the swap corresponded with a small milestone at the Telegraph — my five-year anniversary as the Lifestyle editor. I remember being nervous on my first day. During that week, I struggled to find a new routine and learn about the Telegraph’s way of life. The sounds of a police scanner, the clicking of keys and the constant ringing of the phone made for interesting background music. I was given a key to the front door, an extension number, a computer, two notebooks and a pen. The only thing on my desk was my Associated Press stylebook and a calendar. Each day, I learned something new — how to file a story, design a page, collect sources, edit copy and more. One of our photographers snapped a quick photo  — a requirement for all reporters and editors.


Between that week and my first column, the photo disappeared from the server. I didn’t realize it until months later. Former BDT photographer John Nelson didn’t mind taking a second photo, but wanted to go outside. By then, it was late spring. John did an excellent job, even catching the exact moment the wind lifted my hair from my shoulder. I have had a hard time letting go of that photo for many reasons. It symbolized the beginning of a career and a place at the Daily Telegraph. Every Thursday for five years, the photo has reminded me how far I have come since those first few months on the job.


A lot of things have changed since then, besides my hair style. My job has expanded and now includes putting together Prerogative magazine. A Lifestyle editor isn’t confined to just one section of the paper anymore. I have covered everything from murder trials to fashion shoots to sporting events. After five years, I am no longer the rookie in the newsroom. Sometimes I miss the beginning of my career, but for only one reason. My desk was a lot more organized back then. There have been a few stressful moments — like the day the computer crashed and I lost nearly everything — but no regrets. Each day is different, but set to the same music — a police scanner, clicking keys and the phone. The outcome of the tune is always changing, from breaking news to the latest club note. And through all the changes, the photo has stayed the same.  I wonder how one celebrates a mini-milestone in journalism? It is not like I can throw a party, or buy a cake. However, I wouldn’t mind an afternoon sugar coma on a stressful day.

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