LAKE MACBRIDE— The newspaper where I proofread offered me an opportunity to write a few articles on city council and school board meetings. I filed my first story yesterday morning and it was more work than I anticipated. By the end of a 5-hour writing session, my shoulder was sore, and I was reminded that journalism requires a different kind of energy and intensity. One down and four more to go during an initial, mutually agreed trail period.
I attended the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors meeting on Jan. 28, and took notes while making a voice recording of the meeting. Getting to the meeting and attending took the better part of four hours. What surprised me was how little work actually got done at the formal board meeting. There was no substantial discussion, only ratification of work that occurred outside the meeting.
The operations committee meeting that occurred after the formal board meeting appealed to my inherent process orientation. It went on for more than two hours, and I felt engaged the entire time.
The budget assumption presentation was particularly enjoyable and I interviewed the district CFO afterward. Because of story length constraints, the budget information ended up on the virtual newsroom floor. What I noticed about the Iowa City school district is they are spending money like they have it. Because of the strong tax base they do have it.
We’ll see how this project goes, but I hope to become more efficient in producing stories, to reduce the investment of time, and to get better at writing news articles. The financial contribution will be, as my editor described it, “pocket change.” It will be another check predestined to go toward sustaining a life on the Iowa prairie.