Breaking the silence
April 6, 2008, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Sea Change

Just a little bit has happened since my last post. And that’s the reason I haven’t updated in a few days.

Wednesday night I got a call from my editor who wanted to give me a heads-up. EIC Steve Smith, in town for the Murrow Symposium on Thursday, would be giving me a call to see if I could have lunch with him. He needed to talk to me.

Apparently there’d been some recent controversy that had to do with me.

Crap, I thought. Did I make a huge mistake in an article somewhere? Was I going to get fired?


Vince, the WSU sports beat writer I’ve been shadowing for five months as I prepared to take over the Cougars job, went to Steve and asked if he could continue with the beat. Expecting to get a solid no, Vince was actually told yes.

And what does that mean for me? That means I move back to Spokane and start a different job, after five months of preparing for the big beat.

Move back to Spokane! I just got down to Pullman. I love my apartment. Moving is a pain in the ass.

On Thursday, I had lunch with Steve at the Murrow Symposium. Free food. He told me what was up, and asked me what I thought of this impending change.

I told him it hadn’t really settled in yet. I felt like I was getting jerked around by the Spokesman, switching beats and having to move every five months or so. I didn’t actually tell him that, but I think he knew I felt that way, because he said he was sorry the Spokesman’s been moving me a lot, but said he wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think I was an asset to the newspaper.

He gave me three choices, the first of which my sports editor had already talked to me about the prior evening.

  1. Move back to Spokane and stay on the sports desk, and become the department’s multimedia guru. I would be covering all sports, making videos and working online 75 to 80 percent of the time. The rest of the time I could do some supplemental print coverage. (This first option also encompasses an exciting opportunity to help develop the SportsLink blog, but through a new system I cannot talk about because it’s proprietary.)
  2. Move back to Spokane and become a general assignment online producer. Instead of having a focus on sports, I would be running around doing videos on whatever the city desk wanted.
  3. Move back to Spokane and return to the city desk as a simple beat reporter, probably covering something mundane like education

After all I’ve been doing the past five months, the last option no longer feels like my cup of tea. The second option, I told Steve, lacks any real focus. The first option, I’ve decided, is what I want to do.

So, once again, change is on the horizon for me. My bosses said I could stay in Pullman until my lease expires at the end of June, still working on WSU sports stories. There are plenty of features to keep me busy until then. Or at least through May.

I’ll have to move back to Spokane. I want to find a nice apartment — bigger than my last one there, but maybe not with two bedrooms, and definitely with a dishwasher.

But, you know, in the few days I’ve had to let this soak in, I’m actually excited about this change. I’ve noticed a huge weight off my shoulders, now that I don’t have to learn all this new stuff about WSU football and in-depth sportswriting. The job waiting for me in Spokane is very cool — I’d probably get to travel to tournaments still, and not just ones the Cougars are in. All teams. And I’ll be getting out of Pullman just at the right time, when most of my friends — and Lisa — are graduating.

I had coffee with Vince on Friday because he wanted to explain himself. He felt bad, of course, but there was one thing he said that made a lot of sense to me. If the original plan were to go through, he would be taking over the job I’ve been doing for the past five months (mostly online work, with lots of videos) and I would be taking over his WSU beat. And right now, at least, he’s way better at sportswriting than I am, and I’m way better at videos than he would be.

Why change if he wants to keep the beat?

When I bought my goldfish the other day, Lisa teased me that I’m really settling in here. I got the call the very next day.

Talk about irony.


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow. Your budding career is giving a whole new meaning to mobile journalist.

I sympathize with the burden of uprooting your life again, but, man, I’m excited you’ll be back downtown. We’re always glad to have more multimedia talent in the main office.

Comment by Andrew Zahler

Buried lede: “(The SR) wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t think I was an asset to the newspaper.”

Vince is old school. They want/need/have to leverage the new media talent!

Comment by vidiot

Good luck in your new venture!

p.s. You can probably take your goldfish with you. Good thing you didn’t plant a tree.

Comment by Annette

Congratulations, Nick, on becoming the newest member of the Steve Smith Screwed Me for No Apparent Reason Club! Your membership packet and complimentary gift basket will be in the mail shortly.

Comment by Peter Barnes

[…] today to check out four apartments I found on Craigslist. If you don’t remember, I’m moving back to the big […]

Pingback by Apartment hunting in Spokane « Stories on the run

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