Daily Archives: August 16, 2009

The new workplace

One of my first acts during my first day at work was to ask the location of the supply closet.  Turns out WXIA has no supply closet.

However, there is a supply drawer.  Looking for a stash of pens, I instead saw a claw hammer and a box of disposable dust masks.  There were also some reporter notebooks.  I grabbed a notebook.

News flash:  WXIA has no newsroom.  However, it does have an “information center,” a six-syllable synonym for the word one might have once used for that two-syllable locale.  During my first week at WXIA, I overheard a reporter quickly correct herself when she lapsed into the old language.

WXIA also has no high cubicles.  The newsroom information center, for all its 21st century nomenclature, has the old-school feel of a newsroom wherein colleagues can actually make eye-contact with each other without having to jump up from their seats.

"Hey- I work hard.  Why not my printer?"  Bill Liss, WXIA

"Hey- I work hard. Why not my printer?" Bill Liss, WXIA (the printer is over his right shoulder, I think)

My WXIA colleagues made clear that my new desk is in an area that utterly lacks prestige.  It’s next to a large garbage can.  It’s also adjacent to what is known as “the Liss Printer.”  I’ve tried to print scripts on the Liss Printer.  I’ve failed.  Moreover, I haven’t seen anybody actually pull any printed paper from the Liss Printer.

(Near as I can tell, reporter Bill Liss bears no blame or responsibility for the Liss Printer.  The printer is apparently so named because it’s near the Liss desk.)

Perhaps the Liss printer works fine, but my computer skills are inadequate.  That’s entirely possible.

WXIA has quaint old computers whose speed and utility seem comparable to those in my old workplace.  After using nothing but a Mac for the last two years, I’m re-learning Windows.

Last week, I accidentally “disappeared” three stories I had written moments earlier.  A couple of hours after the first story vanished, a producer politely asked me if she could delete some gibberish I’d obviously written or saved into the wrong page of the 7pm show rundown.  This was one of the missing stories.  I told her to flush the copy, which I’d long since re-written.

In another instance, I deleted what I thought was a duplicate copy of story I’d written.  Turned out it wasn’t a duplicate.  Joke’s on me.

All of this reflects the natural awkwardness that any new employee might find in a new workplace.  There’s a learning curve in a new job.  Thing is, I haven’t had a new employer since I was a man in my 20s.  So all this requires some re-orientation.  Which I’m delighted to get through; the new job has gone quite nicely thus far.  The people who staff the newsroom information center are very generous and helpful, as are the folks in the rest of the building.  The Bosslady seems to be an unfailingly positive presence, even when handling difficult stuff.

News flash:  WXIA has no chyron operator for newscasts.  If a reporter or producer has a chyron, you click on a program which has templates for the newscast.  You enter the super in the correct template.  You drag the completed super into the script.  The director (who is also the technical director) enters the super during the newscast, based on the time given on the rundown or tear sheet (which another station in a former life called a “tech sheet”).

WXIA has standard ID supers for its reporting staff, but hadn’t created one for me.  I was told the supers included a name and an e-mail address.  So I improvised “doug richards / apartment fire (at) gmail (dot) com.”

Then I heard Bud Veazey’s voice, for some reason.   I changed the second line to simply read: “11 Alive News.”

Update / Correction: That’s not the Liss Printer over Bill’s shoulder.

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