Between a memory and a dream

So much has happened since I’ve last cracked open the virtual notebook that is The Darcy Diaries. From hurricanes to horses and lots in-between, life has been moving especially quickly, and I’m finally pressing the pause (or rewind?) button to take a look back at my first sliver of junior year.

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As a reporter for WUFT, I’m learning the ins-and-outs of producing news stories for the web. So far, I’ve worked on two day-turn stories (stories that I pitch at 9:30 am and are due by 3 or 4 pm that day) about Hurricane Irma preparation and aftermath, and I’m working on an enterprise piece (a long-form story that’s more developed and complex), which is due at the end of October.

The reporting lifestyle is stressful, unpredictable and adrenaline-packed. While I’m interviewing sources and long before I’ve opened up a blank Word document to start writing, I’m already mentally crafting the lede (opening sentence) and wondering how the heck I’m supposed to turn a bunch of sound bytes and scribbled notes into a well-developed story. But the end result —  seeing my published story — is incredibly rewarding, especially since it’s for a real-time news network that serves 16 counties in North Central Florida. My favorite part about working in the newsroom is collaborating with TV and radio reporters to produce multimedia content. (I learned more about storytelling while tagging along with a TV reporter for my first assignment than I’ve ever learned from a textbook.)

I also love the fact that every news article has a story behind it — aka the behind-the-scenes details that make for funny memories and lessons. For one story, I visited a local horse farm that was severely flooded after Hurricane Irma. As soon as I entered the scene, I stepped in a massive pile of red ants (ouch!) and later had to help one of the farmers push a golf cart out of a muddy trail. (I legitimately had one hand on the golf cart and the other gripping a $1,000 camera I borrowed from the newsroom.) Good times. (But worth it in the end!)

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All smiles (pre-pushing a golf cart out of mud) with my new equine friend.

I’m not sure if I see myself pursuing a career in the newsroom. Some days, after finishing an interview, speaking with an inspiring or powerful subject or seeing my work published online, I feel as though this is what I’m meant to be doing. Other times, I’m overwhelmed by negative perceptions toward the media and wonder if I could handle reporting on tragic events and massacres.

Nonetheless, I value this kind of experience and the opportunity to learn from professionals, and I’m reminded of what I do know I love: interviewing, picking up on sensory details, putting my people-watching skills to good use, thinking on my feet, writing, editing and seeing a story — and any type of project — evolve from a pitch to a published piece.

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In other news

Famed rock ‘n roll artist and Gainesville native Tom Petty died last week, and 90,000 Gator fans sang “I Won’t Back Down” in the stadium on Saturday. It was a beautiful moment (and kind of emotional, too — but that might just be because I had sweat dripping from my forehead into my eyes). Tom Petty’s iconic lyrics have inspired many of my blog posts (including this one).

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I became a G-Big (aka sorority talk for “I have a ‘little sis,’ and now my little sis has a little sis”). My little sis, Sam, and my g-little (grand-little), Kate, are both amazing, talented people, and they make being the older sister pretty easy (and wearing ridiculous costumes worthwhile).

If you would’ve told my freshman year-self that I’d be a student organization leader, I probably would’ve had a mini-freakout moment. Fast-forward two years later, and here I am — managing a team of nearly 40 writers and editors for my Her Campus chapter.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is to let go of the hope that everything will go exactly how it’s planned out in my head. I’ve embraced the fact that it’s better to delegate than to try to do everything myself. I have lots of responsibility, which I love — and working with so many different people (with different personalities and work ethics) is sometimes a challenge, in a good way. At the heart of it all, I love helping other people turn their ideas into articles, and I’m lucky to have something I truly enjoy to fill my days.


Here’s to the Gators not knowing how to catch a football (not that I’m one to speak on hand-eye coordination) and to being on the cusp of 21 (but that’s another blog post).

Until next time,

Darcy

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