Like haikus, an issue of the Optimist is put together following a strict set of rules. Unlike haikus, an issue of the Optimist requires much more than 17 syllables. This is my attempt at making journalism seem poetic.
About a week before the paper is published, our Managing Editor, Marissa (pronounced with disgust), sends out story assignments to the staff.
It’s assignment day/
Read the email and hope that/
My name is not there.
After being assigned a story, I usually try and convince myself that I will be covering an interesting event.
Maybe I will write/
About something really cool/
But it’s Abilene.
The next step is to contact some sources and learn about my story.
Called my source Friday/
Emailed, texted on Sunday/
I think that they’re dead.
Once I somehow manage to contact them, it’s time to sit down for an interview.
Meet in your office/
I’ll stick a mic in your face/
And still misquote you.
Quotations are a staple of any news story, but eloquence is not often a staple of someone’s skillset.
I will need something/
Quotable, I just can’t print/
“It was really great!”
Once all the information is collected, the writing process begins. This often takes a great deal of skill and originality.
Intro, fact, fact, quote/
Quote, fact, side story, fact, quote/
Fact, fact, quote, close, done.
Copy editing ensures that the paper is mistake free. Because it doesn’t start that way.
“Your” is not “you are”/
As in: “You’re sure you are a/
Sometimes news will break and our job requires us to drop everything and work.
Editor calls me/
Needs someone to write but I/
“Did not have my phone.”
The opinion page is where journalists release their pent up anger/disgust/disbelief/etc.
News is about facts/
But don’t you dare think we’re not/
The last step is design. As a graphic design major, this is where I most resent my journalist counterparts.
Ok, come on, guys
Don’t worry about the words
Just make it look nice.
Once we are finished, the paper is off to the printer, soon to be delivered to your hands at 11:30 a.m.
Down the stairs you come/
If you avoid eye contact/
You don’t want to read.
The paper has been researched, written, edited, designed, printed and delivered to students. Now I can do something I haven’t done all week.
I’m finally done/
I’ll sleep all afternoon, quite/
Newsworthy, I know.