Soaking it all in

I am one of those people who is always interested in learning something new. Iím not talking about ďsomething new every day.Ē No, Iím not satisfied with that. I want to be constantly learning wherever I am. And as for what Iím learning, Iím not that picky. I want to learn it all!

With all of this random knowledge handy, Iím a force to be reckoned with at games like Trivial Pursuit. Unfortunately I rarely get to test those skills, since none of my friends and family members will consent to play with me anymore. (Only my niece Jessica is still up for the challenge.)

This constant thirst for knowledge is one of the reasons why I love my job. With every article I write, I learn something new. Yes, even at all those school board meetings.

Despite my short tenure here at The Evening Sun, Iíve already racked up a couple of hundred articles, not to mention my columns and blogs. Some of those articles are one time deals, on topics I may never write about again.

Maybe itís invasive species, a feature on someone in the community or a new business opening up; whatever the topic, I try to at least do some cursory research just to bolster my understanding of the subject. Yesterday, for example, I spent some time learning all there is to know about the National Spelling Bee for an article youíll see about Oxfordís spelling champ. Iím sure I wonít use everything I learned about the topic, but you never know what might come in handy.

There are some topics I write about on a pretty regular basis, and for those I do even more research. It pays to be an expert when you write 25 articles on one topic, like Iíve done about the NYRI powerlines. Or maybe I should say itís hard not to be an expert after youíve written that many.

Iíve also tried to become something of an expert on Norwich City Schools, about which Iíve written more articles than I can count. And then there is the railroad, the proposed building project(s) in Oxford and donít forget about those 76 Pomeranians. (After attending all but two of the court hearings held in both the civil proceeding and criminal case against Steven Fong, I feel like Iíve not only gotten a cursory legal education but also learned more than I ever wanted to about our town justice system.)

There is always something going on in my coverage areas, but that doesnít mean that it canít get a little routine. I mean, youíve seen one town board meeting, youíve seen Ďem all right? (Not really, but they do start to meld together after awhile.) Thatís why, when Jeff asked me to cover a Board of Supervisors meeting while Melissa deCordova was out of town, I jumped at the chance.

For some that may seem less than exciting, but I found it interesting to witness firsthand the dynamics of the group which runs our county. Iím paying for the privilege, of course, as I have at least three more articles to write on the meeting lingering on my to-do list.

Recently I realized that while I have learned an awful lot about a variety of topics since starting to work here, there was one area in which I was sadly lacking. Even after more than 7 months here, I still know next to nothing about the newspaper business.

So last week I talked to Jeff about it, and yesterday I sat with Jan Rowe as she built the classified pages. OK, so maybe I kicked her out of her seat so that I could do it with her directing me. (Always better to learn hands on, in my opinion.) I know Iíll have to work with her a couple of more times before Iíve truly got the hang of it, but I think I did pretty good for my first time. Once Iíve mastered that, weíll see what else heíll let me play with.

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