Sunday, September 16, 2018

Journalism 1010101010101......

Interviewing an elementary school student in Las Cruces

Well, I'm still at it.

Yesterday, I put in a little Saturday overtime at the Las Cruces Sun News to finish up a story and participate in an editorial board interview with U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich. When I plugged my laptop into the docking station and attempted to sign in, I got a message saying, "Your account has been disabled."

My initial reaction was a sensation of dropping calmly into my gut: There it is, I've been fired.

Congenitally unable to earn a paycheck in any profession where I am secure, it was the first and most obvious theory to explain my inability to log on. It was soon followed by a phone call to the Gannett company's tech support assuring me that this was a widespread problem that day, to hold tight, and I'd be reconciled to the USA Today network systems in a jiffy. And so I was.

It has been more than 17 months since I was offered a job as a news reporter, having no background in journalism. As odd as that is, it also makes sense by certain measures. I can write, and enjoy writing; I am curious, which encourages me to check things out. And I am obviously unafraid of entering insecure and unpopular professions.

After a year at the Deming Headlight, I got tapped to go and report at the Sun News, another Gannett property. I have been there since June, reporting mainly on local businesses and public education while continuing to write the "Desert Sage" column. I have also done some government reporting and other stories.

And technical problems notwithstanding, I have yet to be fired. My theatrical activity has been drastically curtailed and I now earn my bacon, surprisingly, by writing - which I've always thought of as my father's game.

I don't trust there is any job security but as long as I'm here I'm trying to figure out how to do it well and do some good before my account is disabled on purpose. There will be occasional theatrical performances, perhaps, but these will be more rare.

At least, until I get laid off again.

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