July 16, 2005

INTERNSHIP: Sleeping dogs into Watchdogs

I'm preparing for my second Roland Park city council meeting. The first proved difficult for a few reasons.
  1. TMI - So many documents, budgets and plans; motions, discussions and votes; don't forget ranting residents. It almost makes me feel sorry for politicians -- almost.
  2. Q & A - Despite information overload, questions arose. As we moved through the agenda, I constantly revised my questions and list of sources to answer those questions.
  3. ID - council members have name plates but who were all those other people? Why did that old dude sit there for two hours? He wasn't even paying attention. Why the hell don't city employees say their names before they speak?
  4. PDQ - Absorb, process and interpret information. Quickly adjust and prioritize items for the story. Get those questions answered before council members finish grazing at the refreshment table and head for their SUVs. Quickly get to a computer and write the story for tomorrow's edition.
  5. AEQ - Josh usually covers this beat. He revitalized the meeting notes, as the paper calls them, raising reader interest. I felt pressure to equal his efforts while adapting them to my style. Besides a 200-year-old parasite at a competing paper decided to attend the meeting instead of writing his copy off the agenda and Josh's published article. I had to write tight, well-organized copy in order to deter him from plagiarizing my work.

At the next meeting the Roeland Park PD will present (and hopefully demonstrate) Taser technology in order to get the council to approve and allocate funds for it.

It's great having an editor who trusts me to cover city government.