Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lee Clarion vs. TWT

Let me start out by saying that the Lee Clarion was the publication that gave me my big break and I thank the publication and Lee University for everything they've done for me.

I'm in Washington. Washington, D.C. that is. The District. 'o. Columbia. I landed an internship with The Washington Times this summer, reporting for the Web desk, doing all the things that the Web desk-ers do... I'll just say it, I'm a natural. (Do you like my coffee mug... just got it!)

However, the thing I miss about the Lee Clarion the most is our newsroom. Let me start off by saying that the benefits of working for TWT (that's what we pro's call 'The Washington Times' around here... it's obviously not easiest name to say) DON'T include the pristine and new newsroom, that's for sure.

At the Lee Clarion we are blessed enough to have a few new iMacs, a flat screen television and all of the office supplies an editor could ever need. We have an up-to-date and feng shui-friendly newsroom. It's perfect; all I could ask for.

I guess with the state of the economy these days, when you get a job at a professional daily newspaper in the capital of everything, news is the first thing they make room for in the budget, not the newsroom.

I present to you my list of the Top 10 reasons the Lee Clarion newsroom is better than the Washington Times newsroom:

10. Office Chairs: This may be nit-picky, however, the office chairs in the Clarion office are WAAAYY more comfortable. And for that matter, they do have rolly chairs here, however, they are on CARPET, so they don't really roll. Who does that? At least we have tile at the Lee Clarion.

9. The Competition: And by competition I don't mean other writers, editors, or interns. I mean The. Washington. Post. Washington is a huge market and reporting and getting exclusive content is big these days. But with the Post readership nearly 800-times bigger than ours, we try to survive.

8. Color Scheme: Really, I know earth-tones and crap like that are supposed to be relaxing and easy on the eyes. But having a whole newsroom filled with off-white, cream, tan and brown tones just makes the room pretty boring to look at. At the Lee Clarion we have a deep red wall that adds some character and much-needed color to the room.

7. Desk: Really, it's not the actual desks themselves. It's the quantity of the same exact desk. It's just that there is about 200 of the same desks in cubical throughout ONE gigantic newsroom. It guess it works like New York City, the newsroom is in blocks... whatever makes it more efficient I guess... apparently feng shui is not really an issue when you have some work to be done.

6. Security: Security in this place is crrrrrazzzy. You have to have an ID to get in anywhere and you have it wear it around your neck at all times... the only thing I have against this part is that it makes accessorizing very difficult... I mean, I can't wear a cute necklace because I already have to have my ID on.. at. all. times. But hey, at least the security gaurds are nice!

5. Couch-less: The Lee Clarion newsroom houses a love-seat couch that has brought many mornings of great sleep, I must say. It's kind of like an initiation. To get into our Editorial Board club you have to sleep on the couch at least once while on deadline. However, I walked into the TWT newsroom only to find it couch-less, kind of depressing. But since I have set hours here, I guess all the sleeping is to be done at h-o-m-e.

4. Coffee: Apparently the coffee up in this place is kinda fend-for-yourself. Which means, I bring my own coffee in the morning... and then pray that I won't need a refill by the early afternoon... because I wouldn't know where to find any around this place. At least at the Clarion we have Jazzman's right outside of our office...

3. Windows: There are lots of windows here. Actually, lots of really big floor-to-ceiling windows. Now don't get me wrong, I love the outside, but when I'm stuck inside all day, no matter what, then I don't want to see the beautiful weather outside. I would rather just take my chances and be surpised when I get off, day after day.

2. TVs: Well I'll begin by saying that not much beats the television that we have provided to us in the Lee Clarion newsroom. But, in TWT's newsroom, they have televisions scattered throughout. Individuals have TVs in front of their desks. The thing is, directly to the left of where I am sitting, there is a huge TV, probably at least 25" or 27", however, the guy that sits in front of me has a TV as well. The probelm is this: everyone likes to watch different television channels. So the TV that I can see well is on one channel and the TV that I can hear well is on another. It's been three days... I'm still not used to it.

1. Keyboards: This is probably the most petty, but the biggest of my problems here at TWT. The. keyboard. doesn't. completely. work. Now, I've got a nice set up.. my own desk, lots of room, a 15" iMac... But within the first three minutes of sitting down at my desk, I noticed that two of the MAJOR buttons on my keyboard don't work. The "caps lock" key and the "tab" key. I just don't understand how someone can work without these two vital keys... must. get. used. to. it.

I'll hand it to Lee University, we at the Lee Clarion have it made in our newsroom. However, I must also admit that for the most part these are all surface complaints and working at a real-world newspaper has its advantages. The people and the news, alike, are both great. I've learned the value that for daily reporting you have to rely on teamwork and those around you.

It's going to be a great summer.

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