Off the Beat: Memories of Brookings extend beyond newsroom

By Lorna Rodriguez, Pilot staff writer January 25, 2013 09:12 pm

I came to Brookings with the lofty goal of making my childhood dream of being a reporter come true, and depart with 19 months of invaluable experience. 

I arrived terrified. I had no idea what to expect, and leave now with a glimpse of what newspapers are all about. 

At the end of the month, I’ll begin working as a reporter for the Eureka Times-Standard, a daily that covers Humboldt County. I’ll be covering crime, courts and breaking news.

While I am excited for the new experiences that await, I am also sad to leave this incredibly caring, friendly community. 

I have learned countless skills — the imperative to build trust with sources and really listen to what people are saying, to navigate public meetings, to say in two words what most say in five, to make sentences flow from one to the next and to write interesting stories that people actually want to read. 

I would like to thank all of my sources for their patience and understanding as I grappled with covering school budgets, negotiations, charter school laws, audits and a whole slew of other issues that I knew nothing about before being hired by the Pilot. I know I often asked question after question, but it is because I care, and wanted to make it sound like I knew what I was talking about when writing my stories. 

Thank you for your time, all the laughs and for allowing me to be an expert in “x, y, z” for a day. As a new reporter, I made my fair share of mistakes, but did my best to learn from them. 

Thank you Scott and Charlie for taking a chance on me. Thank you Lynn for teaching me just about everything I know about how to write a story, especially how to add “gravy.” Thank you Cat for all of the advice and for encouraging me to stand up for myself. Thank you Jef for always listening and for your never-ending support. Thank you Jane for teaching me how to build rapport with sources and for being a reporter who I aspire to be one day. And thank you Bill for providing me with a phone number or address off the top of your head when I was too lazy to look one up.

My memories of Brookings extend beyond the newsroom, however. 

I loved playing music at the Art Walks, practicing yoga with Glencora and Bev, singing with Resonance, learning what “going upriver” is all about, running all over Brookings — rain or shine, and seeing the Oh-So-Beautiful Pacific Ocean every day. 

I enjoyed randomly running into people while shopping at Fred Meyer. But most of all, I cherished living in a place I never knew existed 19 months ago. 

I will never forget my time here. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of it.