I got published!

November 15, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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And maybe all that print business is to blame for my dwindling interest in blogging. My traineeship is nearly over, and towards the end I finally got published – a double page is bearing my name (and that of the editor in charge of the science dept.)! But most of the writing doesn’t sound like me anymore – the inevitable editorial streamlining process took its toll. I know that this happens everywhere, yet still wonder whether this is really commendable. Take the word ‘stylish’ for instance – it is also used in German, although mostly spelled stylisch: Isn’t it one of the hollowest expression possible? Still it’s used all over the place in advertising and mass publishing.

No matter how exciting those six weeks in a tabloid magazine might have been – I am keen on moving on to my new job now, which has a whole array of interesting intellectual challenges in stall for me:-) And maybe, maybe I am going to be able to combine a bit of freelance writing with it. In theory, that should be possible.

Your future – take that decision NOW!

October 23, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I thoroughly HATE taking decisions. I am extremely good at exploring a problem and all its ramifications, but the moment when a decision needs to be taken is most dreadful to me.

Today we had to decide (rather: our instructor tried to decide for us) where we’d like to spend the next three weeks. He wanted to put me into the chronicle department – they do things like “Teenage Newborn Christians”, “Call Girl Circuits in Vienna” and a few political reports, provided the topic involves prostitution and abuse of office. Our instructor wanted me in there because he thinks I can write – while I do agree on that (meanwhile), I also know that it is not part of my constitution to hunt for breaking news in a brothel or try to squeeze the insides out of a confused young adult. That’s why I am going to tell him tomorrow that I won’t be available for this placement.

It’s odd: It was never a dream of mine to become a top-notch, investigative journalist – our instructor seems to be projecting that wish onto me and that is why I feel somehow bad for not accepting his choice of placement. And it’s worse, actually: It’s almost like I am afraid I might be missing out on an unexplored part of my personality if I don’t take this ‘chance’ (mind you: one that had never occurred to me before) now.

On other terms: I still remember how I occasionally HATED to have to take control of a classroom while I was still teaching – on days that I was more vulnerable, and felt that putting myself out front like that was something that I had to consciously force myself to. But what kind of a challenge is THAT in comparison to having to ring the door bells of complete strangers, trying to make them tell you your life story? Sure, there might be days that I am on an adrenaline high where it’ll work just like that – but what do I do on those vulnerable days?

Let’s not forget: When I was 19, I dropped out of my first semester at university because I was so scared of people then that leaving the house (a five-storey building, with the potential threat of the janitor hiding behind every corner) and mingling with my fellow students became a dreaded, seemingly unmanageable task. I’ve come a bloody long way since then!!! But do I really have to up the ante once more and now decide to become an investigative journalist?

So I arranged a brief meeting with the head of multimedia, and as of Monday, I am going to be an online editor in training. I guess I’ll be able to start work right away – considering that I already know my fair share of CMS and HTML and Photoshop. It’s definitely not a job that has the same glamour as that of the chronicle journalist, but it sounds like a place where I could feel at home, in a professional sense.

Three more days until disassembly of Hero Team

October 22, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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If you can put it that way. I CAN’T BELIEVE MY TRAINEESHIP THINGY ALREADY STARTED MORE THAN TWO WEEKS AGO! And is going to end in three days. Not the entire program, but the practical training part, after which me and my fellow contestants will be assigned to individual editorial offices and publications for another three weeks.

I doubt that there will be much occasion to bond and socialize with other trainees then – in the past two weeks, we barely had time to rush off and grab some food which we either ate on some street corner or at our desks. I didn’t even find out whether this place HAS a canteen! (I doubt it has one). So where and when would we meet?

I continued to receive favourable feedback from our instructor, although I think he is meanwhile a bit ‘biased’: My political commentary was obviously underinformed, but he still signed it off with a ‘very good’ (the downside of all this praise is of course that I was repeatedly singled out and potentially considered a threat to their own chances by some of my fellow trainees), but it’s also become quite clear that the skills for which I am being praised are probably not the ones that are really needed. Here.

The ability to write a witty portrait with just a hint of sardonicism is, as far as I know, neither required in TV guides, consumer electronics magazines, news tabloids or business mags. Or, if they ARE required, it is certainly not going to be the trainee who gets to use them.

I had a chat today with one of the editors in chief from a magazine where I potentially could spend the next three weeks. Right beforehand, I was cued by our instructor that they might be hiring. Well, hiring… I could do an internship for a year, earn 400€ before taxes – and there would also be some extra money coming from another budget which could boost my salary (boost by which proportion I do not know – yet can that extra money be more than the actual sum? Hardly).

The person who talked to me was a very sweet chap and he tried to explain the difficult situation of budget cuts they had experienced and of the workload that keeps increasing nonetheless… if I were still 26, I guess I would go for it in spite of the miserly pay – and 7 years ago, my mom would have still been willing and able to support me, but meanwhile the story is a different one. I am rather keen on supporting _her_, which is yet another reason to be reasonable, and also: I deserve better, with all the experience and skills that I have.

So fuck their reduced budget – if they cannot raise the money to hire the amount of staff they need, then they’ll have to live with the fact that they can’t have me:-) Seriously – how can anyone dare to offer a one year internship? After a mere three months, you know what a person is worth, and after half a year, if they’re worth it, they’ll be working like a regular. Anything beyond six months just means that they are making money off you, while you have to pinch pennies.

But even if this traineeship won’t get me a job THERE – it is still going to be worth it, for the experience, for the boost of self-confidence and for the nice bunch of people I got to know 🙂

Traineeship running smooth, but I’m lacking sleep

October 17, 2007 at 6:21 am | Posted in Journalism | 14 Comments
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Update: I got my first proper feedback for things I had written on my own yesterday and a very favourable public appraisal. It’s a damn good feeling if you are 33 (i.e. officially too old for traineeships), have four academic papers published but nothing in the journalistic arena, don’t know whether you have got anything to offer to the market, still think that you can write better that most journos you have witnessed and then get this feedback from someone who has been in the business for 40 years and has had three bestselling books on right wing populism:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your pieces. And you have got your very own style. Which editorial office do you want to join for the three weeks of practice?”

I said “online”, because that is the area where I have experience AND they are planning to hire someone. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind going somewhere else in order to improve my writing and learn more about print journalism, because this is NOT an area in which I have much experience. So let’s see where I’ll be assigned.

Following a momentary relief after the submission of our Monday assignments, our tasks are now piling up again on our desks. 2 due today – that’s why I need to be in the office at 8, not 9:30 when it officially starts.

The unemployed goes to work for free

October 8, 2007 at 6:13 am | Posted in Work | 3 Comments
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My mini-traineeship to become an editor starts today. I am a bit nervous – where is that switch to turn nervousness into excitement?

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