Thursday, June 18, 2009

A very busy intern

By Ronnie Turner
Sports Journalism Institute

June 17 officially put my tenure as a sports writer at The Salt Lake Tribune at two weeks.

What a tenure it's been.

During these two short weeks, I showed up late for the first day of work (this was before SJI), got lost numerous times while driving around town, paddle surfed in the Great Salt Lake, once drove in circles around my newspaper's parking garage, covered a rodeo in freezing temperatures, drove around and up some mountains, got lost while looking for BYU's athletic administration building, mistakenly stepped on a waxed floor at Bountiful High School and made life miserable for three janitors, had an NCAA official call me at 6:15 a.m. and a college coach at 7:30 a.m., wrote a story that was the centerpiece of Wednesday's sports section, was turned down for an interview by a couple of oncologists and spent 13 hours in the office Wednesday, four of those working on breaking news coverage.

It's been two weeks of interviews, emails, voice mails, rainy days, long days spent by the phone, short nights of sleep, great expectations, minor disappointments and worthwhile achievements. Two weeks of intense fun.

Can't say that I'm surprised at the amount of work I've been given. My superiors and colleagues at The Salt Lake Tribune treat me as a regular employee, not as some know-nothing intern. My bosses give me assignments and expect to have them completed by deadline. No babying and no excuses accepted. Plenty of feedback. Just the way I like it.

I've had four stories published since arrival, with two more set to hit the newsstands Friday. The signature story was the centerpiece, a feature on a high school cowboy who nearly had his career ended and life threatened by a mysterious illness that caused temporary paralysis. The latest story was a sidebar explaining a rare form of pancreatic cancer that has befallen BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose. I had never heard of this form of pancreatic cancer, but after a few hours of painstaking research and interviews, I could probably write a book on it.

In any case, that was a breathtaking start in Salt Lake City. Lord knows what else they'll have me do that takes my breath away.

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