Secrets of the universe

People who follow me on Twitter might notice I’ve been tweeting a lot lately about happy dances and good things happening in my life.

What can I say? I had an awesome weekend. Slightly whirlwind, but it was a good enough mix of professional and personal and down time that I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday (technically my Sunday).

Professionally, I got to meet with two other journalists: K., who has worked for a daily and now is still quite involved in the media scene, and G., whom I’ve worked with before and have a lot of respect for.

Talking with K. was a lot of fun, and it was exactly what I was hoping would come out of my discussion with her. In community newspapers, the unspoken expectation is that you do a couple years at a smaller paper, usually in the middle of nowhere, before moving up. Except I don’t know what I want to move up to, or even if I want to “move up” — I love copy editing, but as both K. and G. pointed out, those specialized jobs either don’t exist anymore or won’t exist for much longer.

K. and I started talking about making digital journalism more interactive and she mentioned some local people who do exactly that, by not only being a journalist, but by being a journalist who understands programming and can create interactivity with words and visuals online. Did I mention they’re local?

Wait, so if I were driven enough to self-teach myself some new online skills and fine-tune my existing print skills, I could eventually do that?

I follow an American journalist on Twitter whose somewhat official description and/or title is programmer-journalist, but I just thought it was one of those American-Canadian things — they have all this stuff we don’t have (I can’t think of any good examples personally, but everyone has that one thing they always have to bring back from the States).

I didn’t realize there were people here that did the same thing, and that they are and can be self-taught.

I have vague memories of using Dreamweaver in second-year university, but I haven’t really touched it since; I’ve been more focused on teaching myself Illustrator. I’m now considering picking up Dreamweaver again.

That’s exactly it. One of K.’s points was that since journalism is becoming more interactive, you can either learn this stuff well enough that you can do it yourself, or learn it well enough that you can still talk to someone else who can do it better and explain, within realistic parameters, what you want.

It’s funny how these things come together. I needed a new challenge at my job, and so now I run the online Sunday edition of the paper — it’s specifically designed for smartphones and tablets, and going in the direction of this new interactive, digital journalism. I know this sounds like I’ve completely flipped away from my dream copy editing job — I haven’t, but there’s all these other options too (exactly what I wanted to know).

My conversation with G. veered a little bit into the digital journalism realm, but we also talked a lot about newsroom chemistry and making the real world jive with everything we learned in school — and some of the things we didn’t learn. It was a lot of what I needed to hear, and I’m seriously debating posting a nice-looking sign with all those reminders on the back of my apartment door so that I can see it every day before I leave my place.

 This is my 140-character summary of my meeting with G. Want to know more? Ask.

I couldn’t have predicted how these meetups were going to go, but like I said, both of them were exactly what I needed, and I was very glad for the two-hour drive home yesterday as I got to turn some things over in my head.

Funny enough, of the other three coffee/dinner dates I had this weekend, two of them were with journalism friends, and the third, I still managed to talk a lot about journalism. (Oops?)

In between all that, I got some shopping done — not Christmas shopping yet, though it was in the back of my head — as I nearly froze last winter, since I don’t like to wear and don’t have that many long-sleeved tops. Living somewhere that doesn’t have chinooks however, means I’m going to have to come to terms with finding warmer clothes. Although last winter, I realized that my part-time job was the warmest office in the world, and so I could get away with not wearing long-sleeved tops. A friend and I also went to go see some live theatre, even though we were a couple minutes late (my fault, I didn’t give myself enough time to get into the city), and I got to hit up the farmers’ market and walk through the river valley, which I love.

As I go through the digital resources that K. pointed me to, I’ll probably be tweeting more about being #happyhappyhappy, though the downstairs neighbours will probably be glad that I’ve stopped jumping around and happy dancing.

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