Four Things | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Four Things

Things I've Learned Since I've Been at the JFP:

1. Always park across the street. When I went to interview the Lettuce Ladies (on my second day) I parked directly in the parking lot of the gas station where two young women were giving out free gas while wearing only bikinis made of lettuce. I had noticed that all the other reporters and cameramen had parked at the restaurant across the street, but I didn't want to try to cross the scary highway. When I got back in my car post-interview, I realized that the hordes of people trying to get the free gallons of gas were not about to let me out anytime soon. Lightbulb! I should have figured out that the older reporters had a method to their madness. It took me about fifteen minutes to drive the twenty feet to the highway, and the only credit for my car leaving in the same condition it came in goes to the fact that God looks after children and fools. Luckily, I'm a little of both.

2. There is, in fact, more than one key to the bathroom. I've been here over a month, but I didn't find this out until last week. On my first day, I asked where the bathroom was and was shown the key hanging on the wall and and pointed down the hall of the complex to the ladies' room. Here's the weird thing. There are two stalls in the bathroom. Every single time I've used the bathroom here, I've made that walk down the hall wandering the same thing. Why is only one person allowed in the bathroom at a time? Does someone here have a particularly shy bladder? Perhaps the second stall is simply a performance art installation from one of the galleries around here. Then, at a meeting last Thursday, someone asked if the interns had any questions, and I finally posed my musings aloud. As it turns out, most of the editors have their own key, so the key in the hallway is just for us mere mortals. Mystery solved.

3. When you're trying to decide whether to take your standard, black reporter's notebook with you on an interview, or your pretty red one with the flowers on it, take the black one. I learned this one at a press conference that was just me and about five other reporters - all of whom were from big newspapers or TV stations. They were all carrying the standard, gigantic reporter's notebook that you would see in any fifties-era mystery movie. I had grabbed last-minute my teeny-tiny two-dollar novelty notebook. As I sat there watching all the grown-up reporters casually scrawling their short-hand notes, I was just trying to ensure that the face of my notebook was pressed as far down on my knee as it would go, so that nobody could see it.

4. Never tell your mother what part of town your interviews are in. I'm from Madison. Yes, I know. I grew up in a cute little neighborhood of cookie-cutter houses and neatly-landscaped lawns and summer block parties and children playing in the streets. Gag, right? Well, anyway, the farthest I ever came into Jackson on my own, was just across County Line to the Barnes & Noble. Now, however, I am routinely sent out to talk to people in every corner of the metro-area, and the first time I got sent to downtown Jackson, I made the mistake of telling my mother where I was going. I heard a pause at the other end of the phone and then a very, very stern, "I'm coming to pick you up." Which is how I ended up going on my first assignment with my mother in tow. Not at all embarrassing.

Of course, I have learned other things, like AP Style and how to use recorders, but I could learn those things anywhere. I doubt there are many other papers in the area that would trust their interns with so much responsibility. I'm picking it up as I go along, - we all are - which is the best way I can think to learn.

Previous Comments

ID
131796
Comment

Hooray for Lauren! You can use my key anytime. Glad you're here.

Author
sage
Date
2008-07-01T21:55:08-06:00
ID
131797
Comment

What do you mean: There is more than one key to the bathroom!?! People here don't tell me anything! This is a hilarious post, especially: t took me about fifteen minutes to drive the twenty feet to the highway, and the only credit for my car leaving in the same condition it came in goes to the fact that God looks after children and fools. Luckily, I'm a little of both. ;-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-07-01T22:13:58-06:00
ID
131800
Comment

You know, you can probably sneak the key out and make copies. Just don't tell Donna. (turns around) Oh, HI, Donna! :D Excellent article, Lauren. Fun to read.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2008-07-02T08:08:05-06:00
ID
131812
Comment

Re #4: I run into this a lot from people who haven't grown up in Jackson. They get nervous. Like when the tow truck driver who bravely towed my car from Clinton Blvd and 220 then commented on how "dangerous" the area was. I just laughed.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2008-07-02T12:36:42-06:00
ID
131815
Comment

Loved the post, Lauren. Gave me chuckles. :-) Iron, I went through a similar incident with a tow truck driver last summer. He even tried to fix my car to keep from coming to my neighborhood. Wuss.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-07-02T13:02:02-06:00
ID
131840
Comment

I had an own old friend one time who lives in Brandon express shock, SHOCK that I could possibly live in the urban jungle of Belhaven. Cracked me up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-07-02T17:17:04-06:00
ID
131860
Comment

Belhaven? Urban Jungle? Only if you're afraid of wild liberals. :D

Author
Ironghost
Date
2008-07-03T10:49:43-06:00

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