Charting a new course

The last time I wrote, I described the end to my Master Plan.

But endings make for great beginnings, and I’m happy to write that this week I accepted a great opportunity to begin my (hopefully very long) career in journalism on the South Carolina coast.

In mid-August I’ll be moving east to become a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette newspapers in Hilton Head, S.C. Once I’m settled into the new digs, I’ll be working the Beaufort County government beat for both papers.

Gorgeous coastal Carolina (the Lowcountry, it’s called) isn’t a bad place to start, either. My parents were a little worried about the move at first, but they’ve reconciled all their fears with their newfound excuse to visit the beach every year.

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I couldn’t be happier about having a chance to pursue a career as a reporter. It’s surreal that I get to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s an exciting time to be breaking into an industry that’s walked through fire to survive tough times.

We talked about that excitement at The Kansas City Star’s weekly intern lunch with two long-time newsroom veterans.

In summation: The people that are still around newsrooms really want to be there, and they’re some of the very best.¬†These are the folks who made it through all the cuts and changes that news organizations have seen, and they live and breathe really good journalism.

That passion is contagious.

Besides, it’s hard not to be excited about this job. We get to tell stories for a living, and that’s a privilege, reporter Eric Adler told us.

“You’ll find the great literary themes in everybody’s life,” he said. “All you have to do is knock and say you’re interested.”

The end of the Master Plan

I had a girlfriend my first year of college, and she called it the Master Plan.

Whenever more work came up, she’d chalk it up to the Master Plan. When I couldn’t think or talk about anything but my reporting; yep, it’s the Plan.

What she called the Master Plan was the course I’d charted for myself to go from zero to pro in my four, short college years. It was about working at the papers in Columbia, scoring internships and beefing up my resume with references and awards. She loved to tease me about putting all my gas into this plan, and her mocking title has stuck with it ever since.

My Master Plan didn’t account for the incredible summers I spent in Maine and Utah or the Saturday night graveyard shifts in the Columbia Missourian newsroom. But the plan always ended with a shot at reporting for my hometown newspaper, The Kansas City Star.

Now I have that shot.

Today I turn 22 years old, and I couldn’t think of a better birthday present than to start the final stage of the Master Plan.

It’s an opportunity I’ve worked toward for a long time. The countless hours I poured into my work (and those initial stages of the Plan) have all built up to this summer and the chance to break in to my dream profession.

With some more hard work, I’m hoping that my short time at the Star can help further establish my reputation as a reporter and writer. When job applications come around at the end of the summer, I’ll be proud to turn in the Star’s banner atop my clips.

Maybe by the time it’s all over I’ll have charted myself a new course.

And perhaps instead of the old adage, “When one door closes, another opens,” it’ll become “When one Plan ends, another begins.”