On 14 years

I sat in my teal green Ford Tempo in the parking lot wondering just how long I might have to wait for someone — anyone — to show up.

It was my first day on the job at the Globe, and I was assigned to a bureau out in Framingham — the big “pink and green on Speen (Street)” I called it.

I was 18, and had woken in my dorm room at 4 a.m., in order to get ready to make the trek to where my car was parked off campus. I drove that first day from the Longwood Medical Area where Simmons was, all the way to Framingham. I was so worried I would be late.

When I got there, however, I learned my first lesson in what it would mean to be a newspaper reporter: No one gets to the office before 10:30 a.m., (at the earliest).

That first day I made so many mental notes about things I did “wrong.”

  • Heels and a skirt when everyone else was in jeans
  • Put the newspaper archives in the wrong place
  • Not making the coffee strong enough
  • Being far too nice on the phone with people who called wanting to talk to a colleague
  • Getting to the office far too early
  • Not staying at the office late enough

But I also learned I was in love with journalism.

I knew I liked being a reporter, but that first day I knew I was in love; head over heels love. I started out writing obituaries, which I took to mean that my words were going to be the last portrait or snapshot of one person’s life, and I had better get it right.

I honed my own way of asking questions: Some reporters hard rapid fire, others asked the hard things first. I fell into a routine of always bringing my notebook, pen, camera, and a cup of coffee everywhere. And I learned that the best way to get the answers to questions was to ask simple things, and then just let people talk. Eventually everything a person wants to say comes out — in words, body language, or in what they are avoiding saying aloud.

I loved every single thing about The Boston Globe: The smell of the press during a run, the slight vibration in the floor that you can only really feel in the early morning hours when the newsroom was at it’s quietest.

I found the secret, quiet spaces like the old chair in the library downstairs, and the beauty of writing a story on deadline when there’s a sense of urgency, stress, and adrenaline in the air.

Every day I’ve come here, I’ve just felt lucky. Someone decided along the lines somewhere that I wasn’t such a terrible writer, and along the way I’ve learned from some of the best in this wacky business we call newspapering.

I can’t sum up all of the stories I’ve written, or pick out a favorite, or even outline exactly what I’ve learned in the past 14 years here.

But what I can do, is tell you this place will always be home.

Thank goodness knowledge is portable; I have 14 years worth to bring with me to Pennsylvania.

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3 Comments

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  1. This: “Every day I’ve come here, I’ve just felt lucky.” is how I’ve felt every day working at RW. Glad to read you still felt the same about the Globe after 14 years. (Oh and I’m TOTALLY looking forward to being able to call you my colleague!) Eeek!

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  2. paria@momontherunsanity.com April 30, 2015 — 12:55 am

    I read every post through this one today….I was riveted….your writing voice speaks to me loud and clear….it is amazing how you can not know someone, yet understand and somehow connect with every word they have written. Running also has it’s own universal language… that is something I am discovering as a relatively new runner.

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