Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sweet little story about my hometown



I was scrolling through the news wires at work and -- hey! -- there was a mention of my tiny hometown. I know I have more than one hometown, due to our moving around. But Simsbury, was where I attended junior and senior high school from ages 12-18. It was where I had my first boyfriend and my first job (aside from a earlier paper route, I guess). Everything Christmas, my family still get nostalgic for Simsbury, even though we left long ago.

And, for once, it was actually good news, not bad. What a relief, after an entire day of war and terror.

To any Americans out there, happy MLK day.

From AP, via NPR:

Martin Luther King Jr. could hardly believe his eyes when he left the segregated South as a teenage college student to work on a tobacco farm in Connecticut.

"On our way here we saw some things I had never anticipated to see," he wrote his father in June 1944. "After we passed Washington there was no discrimination at all. The white people here are very nice. We go to any place we want to and sit any where we want to."

The slain civil rights leader, whose birthday is observed Monday as a federal holiday, spent that summer working in a tobacco field in the Hartford suburb of Simsbury. That experience would influence his decision to become a minister and heighten his resentment of segregation.

"It's clear that this little town, it made a huge impact on his life," said John Conard-Malley, a Simsbury High School senior who did a documentary with other students on King's experiences in Connecticut. "It's possibly the biggest thing, one of the most important things, people don't know about Martin Luther King's life."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overheard in the newsroom...

Image from the Take Me I Am Yours blog.

... on a particularly frantic night when there were not enough hands to handle all the news we had to handle, my colleague said wryly, "It's amazing I haven't burst out in flames."
In case Joyceyland readers were wondering where I'd disappeared to these two weeks, I was trying hard not to spontaneously combust while working through the holidays.

Also overheard (in what is a regular refrain here), "Why, this is an affront to the very English language!" or "This is an abomination of a news column!"
Actually, the raw copy we see here is galaxies better than anywhere else I've worked. It's actually excellent and needs very little editing.
It's a good thing these guys never had to do the rewriting I did at local media like the SCMP or HK. I'm not talking about local Chinese working in a second language (for whom I have nothing but respect). I'm talking about the freelancers who actually come from English-language countries...
I wanted to say to this colleague, "Buddy -- you've spent your life reading New York Times stories. You have no idea..." But I didn't.

Is there a silver lining? Well, at least I have colleagues who are so good with words that even their work-a-day griping is eloquent.
And, as I toil for the ever-worthy, but financially-flailing, serious news industry, I guess I should be happy I even have a job to complain about.