Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jockeying for Position

A coworker of mine is leaving our bureau and heading south - sort of. He's heading downstairs to the main newsroom to handle business. As a result, the four remaining reporters left here, in the second most widely circulated section at my paper, have to pick up his slack because they aren't hiring anybody to take his place.

Of course.

For weeks after the announcement was made, we hemmed and hawed, complained and blamed about the situation we'd be left in. In addition to covering our municipalities (some of which are the largest in the state behind Providence), we'd have to split his beat up and each of us would have a sliver of it to cover until we got a replacement.

If we ever get one.

Anyway, my coworkers and I speculated about how the beats would be divided. Would one person cover all of his city? Would they give all of the schools to one of us? What about the courts? And the airport?

As they gossiped, I sat at my desk, silently dreading the thought of getting saddled with another city hall or sewer authority to cover. I know it's the meat and potatoes of the newspaper, but if I had a choice, I'd be out of municipal coverage all together. The only thing about my departing colleague's beat that I'd be even remotely interested in is the courts beat. I was mentioning this to some friends and they suggested I head my boss off at the pass.

Go for the beat I want instead of waiting to see what beat I got stuck with.

Initially, I balked at the idea. I mean, wouldn't that make it seem that I'm not a team player? That I'm not willing to go with the flow? But then, I started thinking about the alternatives -- like getting stuck with another city council or sewer department to cover.

I needed to act.

"I know that with [my coworker] gone, we'll all have to pick up the slack to make sure we don't miss any news and to keep things running smoothly around here," I said to my boss as I sat in her office. "I'd just like to offer to take the courthouse, since I like public safety and it is, after all, in my town."

I braced for the verbal lashing.

"That sounds great," my boss said. "I really appreciate it because with [my coworker] gone, we'll all have to make changes. I have to figure out how this will all work, but it's good to know I can scratch that off of my list of things to reassign."

I sat there for a minute stunned. It really wasn't that easy, was it?

Guess that old saying is true: "ask and you shall receive."

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Posted by T Dot at 5:36 PM | link

Read or Post a Comment

wise choice!

Posted by Anonymous jenn @ 11:07 PM, March 28, 2007 #

It's good to know that being proactive and not reactive, can be so beneficial.

Posted by Anonymous CNEL @ 2:13 AM, March 29, 2007 #
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