Friday, May 30, 2008

Fresh eyes

So I'm trying to look at the bright side of a situation. Help me get there, won't you?

I am covering volleyball. The athletes are all blond -- one called me dude -- and I think tomorrow, if the weather permits, they will all go surfing together and celebrate this championship whosoever may win.

I've never even watched volleyball for more than one or two sets. I remember watching this really cute black girl on the Stanford team a couple years back. She, for reasons round and wide, held my attention for a spell. But there are no girls here. Just a 17-year-old kid named Mike with the moustache of a 45-year-old man named Harry. Wish I were kidding about that.

And it is so loud. They are chanting. Ever heard rhythm-like chanting in a small gym with 600 people packed inside of it? The crowd is chanting and yelling with every lull and break and wild finish to each play. God, can you hear me? It's hard to have a Little Talk with Jesus with several hundred Gentiles screaming in your ear.

But my editor likes to send people like to events like these. Says that reporters that cover events with fresh eyes can give a fresh perspective, and yeah, I am cool with that. Were it not for this internet connection, a crumpled bag of former Doritos and a 20 oz. bottle of lemonade, I would be lost. Now all I have is time to ruminate about what it is I'm looking at. Take in the sounds and the sights. Figure out my lead. And wish I had watched more of that match. The one with the chick from Stanford.

Posted by Darren Sands at 7:46 PM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I got my new intern today.

As a Chips Quinn alum, I serve as a mentor to at least one of the Chipsters that make it through our newsroom each summer.

I like doing it because I know how important my newsroom buddy (as we are called) was to me.

But right now, I'm not feeling like I'm the best example. Just kinda in a funk. Getting kinda restless. Super unmotivated.

Ah well. I'll suck it up and do my best for this intern. Promise I will.

Posted by T Dot at 3:31 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Friday, May 09, 2008

On Storytelling (corrected)

Even the best journalists get things wrong every once in a while. Thanks to Jacqui for pointing out that this quote is mis-attributed to her. Below is the updated post with the correct attribution. Our apologies.

-- Ten95 Mgmt.

One of the managers at my paper shared this quote with us today. Figured I'd share.

"Thank God for stories - for those who have them, for those who tell them, for those who devour them as the soul sustenance that they are. Stories give shape to experience and allow us to go through life unblind. Without them, everything that happens would float around, undifferentiated. None of it would mean anything. Once you have a version of what happened, all the other good stuff about being a human comes into play. You can laugh, feel awe, commit a passionate act, get pissed, want to change things."
-Tomas Alex Tizon
Los Angeles Times



Posted by T Dot at 2:42 PM | link | Tell us what you think [2]

Saturday, May 03, 2008

And the winner is...

Not me.

So, I didn't get first place.

Or second place.

You're looking at the winner of two third place finishes here.

In other words, I'm a second place loser.

But it's cool.

We had a great time. The swordfish was banging. My plus one and I coordinated nicely (black and gold, please). And my newspaper racked up the awards. So we rejoice with those who rejoice.

It was crazy because I told you we're the paper of record here, right? So, beginning of the night, the MC starts talking about the contest. Says something about how proud he was that a lot of the little papers had a good showing in the contest this year. Then he says, "and the bigger outfits, not that they don't deserve to be here too, because there's some great journalism there as well, they did okay too."

I cocked my head to the side. I did. Was he trying to do a backhanded dig at my employer? See, my paper is at a handicap in these awards. Anything that originates from the main sheet staff is not eligible. That means no page designs and no photographs from us can be submitted. And each of our bureaus is treated as a seperate paper. So, essentially, we're all competing against one another.

Good and bad, I suppose. I think that sometimes, just to keep us in line, they limit the number of stories they'll let us be finalists in. The cool thing is I think that in just about every category we were nominated for, we won a first place finish.

In the spot news contest, I was competing against another Journal reporter who wrote about a fatal crash, and a local paper, who also wrote about a fatal crash. Mine, as you recall, was a trial verdict. I think the subject matter hindered me a little bit. Trial coverage can't compete with a fatality. Or maybe I'm just making excuses. In the comments section, the judges wrote about my story "nice detail, gave good sense of emotion."


In the in-depth feature category, I honestly don't know who I was up against. I know I got third place and the judges wrote of my shoe cobbler story "reminds us that technology isn't everything." I don't know why, the comment kind of got under my skin. It just did.

But we won first place for personality/profile, sport feature, news series, most unusual story, environmental reporting, spot news, and I think that's it. Basically, everyone except me won a first place finish (a couple reporters were nominated for two awards).

You'd never know it though, after the ceremony. There were hugs and huge smiles all around. It was actually really cool. It was almost like we were all a team and when one of us wins, we all win together.

That was the best part.

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Posted by T Dot at 3:48 PM | link | Tell us what you think [2]

Friday, May 02, 2008

Awarding behavior

They announced the finalists for the Livingston Awards yesterday, recognizing the work of talented journalists under the age of 30.

Be inspired.

I'm not on the list, but I do have some pre-award butterflies in my tummy.

Tonight is my awards ceremony for the Rhode Island Press Awards.

I've got my dress (a smart black sheath) hanging on the coat rack outside my cubicle. My pumps and shiny purse are in a bag under my desk. I couldn't take the pressure of having to keep my outfit presentable all day, so I figured I'd just change just before the ceremony.

I'm trying not to be too amped. I really am. I don't want to be cocky. And I want to be surprised.

I am, however, thinking positively.

On my resume I added two new lines under awards:

2007 Rhode Island Press Association First Place - Spot News
2007 Rhode Island Press Association First Place - In-Depth Reporting


One can always hope.

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Posted by T Dot at 12:27 PM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Do It Big, then

I was searching through the newsletter for the Chips Quinn Scholars program (of which, I'm an alumna) and look who I found:

This guy.

He may have told me before, but I have a horrible memory.

So, anyway, congrats to Aaron and the rest of the Chipster class of 2008!

And he shouted out the blog in his biography. Gotta love him.

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Posted by T Dot at 1:08 PM | link | Tell us what you think [2]

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