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This aspie was a reporter for a newspaper!
I’m writing this short hub for two purposes: One, to let my followers know why I haven’t posted anything in months. And two, to describe how a person with asperger’s syndrome such as myself could get a job that I personally had doubts that I could really do.
As I noted in one of my previous hubs, I’ve been looking for a job these past few months, and I’m also receiving SSI benefits until I get a decent paying job. Around the beginning of August, I applied for a writing job for a new newspaper in my area that was just starting up. Two of the writing samples I sent to the editor were some articles from hub pages. Keep in mind, this was also a reporter job, so I knew I would have to do interviews for this job too, and objective articles, not just opinion pieces.
So I applied. This was only the second job I’d been asked to for an interview after at least three months of searching, and I ultimately ended up getting the job! I’ve written 8 news articles for the paper, and also had to do interviews with people over the phone. The latter wasn’t such a big challenge, especially since I didn’t necessarily have to do the interviews face to face. I told the editor point blank in my first interview that I was shy, and she asked if I would be okay with over-the-phone interviews. I responded that I probably could do that, and I did.
The interviews were a bit nerve wracking, I admit. I recorded the phone interviews, and transcribed the quotes afterwards, which was good. But prior to making a call, I would dawdle for two or three minutes, mentally preparing myself for the call and trying to overcome my nervousness. For the most part, I ended up doing just fine. Some people were very friendly, cooperative and responsive to my questions, and others were less cooperative. There was one person in particular who seemed rather hostile. But I was able to handle it okay. I’m not a very assertive or confrontational person and never have been, so the reporter job may not seem like a very good fit for me, but I was probably able to be more assertive than I expected, given the circumstances and my personality. Regardless, my editor was understanding and gave me some advice for when people weren’t responsive and recommended alternative sources in those cases where someone wasn’t willing to talk or be cooperative.
Also, I’m not very good with thinking on my feet, so I was very rarely ever able to come up with follow up questions for the people I was interviewing. I also have a short attention span and it was hard at times to even concentrate on what the people I was talking to were saying. This wasn’t particularly a big deal, since I was recording all my conversations, but I knew that was something I would have to work on.
One of the reasons I had to take my personal photo off of my hubs and remove my middle and last name from my profile was because of advice from my editor. I let her know about my account on hub pages, because I thought there might be a conflict of interest with a reporter writing non biased, objective articles, and doing opinion writing on hub pages. She recommended I remove any photos or remove the “C. L.” from my name so people won’t figure out who I am. I didn’t take the latter advice, but I briefly considered it, but at this point, it really doesn’t matter (for reasons I’ll get into in a moment).
My articles focused on local issues. My two favorite articles that I did were the first two, where I explored how recent unemployment compensation reforms passed by congress were currently affecting my state. My other favorite article was when focused on the recent changes in handgun permit laws for my area.
But, as I found out this past Wednesday, the paper has now gone out of business because we weren’t making enough money on advertising. I picked up my last check this Saturday. Granted, this was part time so I was only making about forty bucks per article once a week, but it was pretty surprising that this happened. Print media is really struggling right now, though, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to get another job in this field anytime soon. I’ll also have to find another job, hopefully this time a full time one. Although the newspaper job was enjoyable, and it was great seeing myself published in a real print publication, I didn’t think the job itself was all that entertaining. Now that I no longer have this job, I will be contemplating where my writing goes from here. I will be writing on hub pages more frequently now, and may even set up an ad sense account finally. Or, I could search for another publication to write at, but I may have to move if I want to do that, given that I live in a rather small city/town.
I had absolutely no journalism experience prior to this job and never planned on writing in that field. My major was in English in college, and I feel my heart is in writing that offers a unique perspective or opinion, not journalistic writing. I’m kind of hoping the next job I get will be something unrelated to writing so I can concentrate on perhaps some kind of freelance opinion writing in my spare time, but we’ll see.
As I have noted in previous hubs, I have asperger’s syndrome, but I did something that I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to do, and I’m quite proud of it. Most aspies have trouble with verbal communication, and I’m no exception. But I did this just fine.
The job was the main reason I haven’t written anything for hub pages in so long. Although I really slacked off writing here for this entire year, the job made me less motivated to write anything. I’m not quite sure why, since it was a part time job and I knew I had enough spare time to write things for this site. But starting now, I will be writing for hub pages more frequently.
Note: I’ve decided not to tell anybody what paper I wrote for. I don’t want to have another conflict of interest issue, especially if I get another job in this field. I’d also rather not give my state or location. I’m probably being overcautious, but I don’t want to run into another problem.