It wasn't long until the editor greeted Elizabeth Wong (a fellow WJC student and intern) and me to give us a tour of the newsroom we would soon be interning at. We walked through the newsroom, a huge collection of desks with computers and some with TVs tuned into the news (really what I had imagined in my mind of a newsroom). After a brief tour of the newsroom we made our way through several halls and corridors passing the cafeteria and meeting several reporters and editors.
That first visit to The Washington Times was over a month ago and had me excited to begin my internship there. There was only one problem. I could not, for the life of me, remember how to get to the cafeteria. I remember it being down a certain hall after entering through several doors but couldn't remember how to get there.
Call it pride, stubbornness, or being too proud, but I simply refused to ask someone where the cafeteria was, least of all my editor who'd shown me that day. I couldn't do it . . . and haven't.
That brings us to today. Here I am nearly a month and a half into my internship, and I have brought my lunch every day and eaten in my cubicle at my desk. Sounds terribly sad I know, but I'd long decided that I was going to bring lunch every day to save money. I simply wasn't eating in the cafeteria. Several friends I have in the Washington Journalism Center and American Studies Program have poked fun at me about this and have called me "redonkulous" and "stubborn." Maybe, I am.
However, this played into my favor today. I was finishing up lunch in my cubicle while reading some stories through the wire when an editor I had not yet met introduced himself to me. He said the story I'd worked on for two days and just recently finished was sent to his section to be edited (my editor told me later that he'd sent it to him to get another taste of how a different editor edits). He was about to go to a meeting but said that he wanted to find me and say that he was surprised with the story and found it to be fairly clean copy for an intern.
We spoke for a brief minute about certain edits, tips and the mistakes that I did have. I thanked him for his comments and tips and then he was off to his meeting.
This was highly encouraging, every aspiring journalist wants to hear that there copy was clean. That is what we strive for. The point: had I remembered where the cafeteria was I probably would have been there stuffing my face and the editor would not have found me before his meeting. Granted, he may have tried to find me after it, but editors are busy and have a great deal on their plates. He may not have.
I have come accustomed to eating at my desk. In fact, I enjoy it. I've learned to enjoy the hum of the computers, TVs in the background spouting out the day's news and phones ringing almost in harmony as calls come in.
Maybe I'll find that cafeteria one day, possibly the last day of my internship. Undoubtedly I will, whether I have to ask someone the dreaded question or revert to the ghosting tactic. I'll have my victory lunch one day.
Undoubtedly my pride of not wanting to ask isn't a great thing and I am not encouraging that. It is probably more of a guy thing. Don't be afraid to ask for directions is what I have to learn here certainly, but I would encourage eating at the desk every once and a while and maybe not going out for lunch. The results may be better than one would think. So tell me. Pride? Or a blessing?