Things I have learned from writing my first-ever news article:

1. Editors can be difficult. This hasn’t changed any since my first newspaper experience (Fall 1999 – what do you mean we don’t cover country music because you don’t like it?), but I had forgotten how true it is.

2. Keep your editor happy – he is your boss, after all. (This rule is true even if he’s the same age and education level as you.)

3. It pays to be a jerk. Get on the phone and keep calling those sources, and if they won’t speak with you, email them. You’ve got to get your interview at all costs.

4. Write, edit, and re-write. With writing, there’s always room for improvement. Perfection, in this profession, is a myth.

5. Experience is worthwhile. Sometimes I want to quit, to storm away and say “I don’t have to take this” — but I do have to take it, and I’ll probably be a better journalist for it.

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