I’ve been doing the news seven years now. That’s nothing compared to many of my colleagues, but it feels like such a long time ago. I barely remember learning how to do what I do. I just do it. Every day.
Recently I got to get back in the classroom with 18 other anchors from across the country. We came together at the Poynter Institute.
First as a person who values aesthetics, the Poynter Institute building in Saint Petersburg, Florida is just gorgeous. Everything about it says to me “This is a place to learn. This is a place to be inspired. Enjoy every minute!”
Notice the lovely natural wood facade with reflection pools and a feeling of the outdoors that is brought in through the buildings. Saint Pete is just amazing. Walking through the city you are surrounded by water and boats. Always a comforting feeling for someone like me who grew up along a coastal area. Plus, the city really is named after the Russian city. A Russian immigrant built a railroad on the land and brought a little bit of Mother Russia to the beach.
This was actually my third time in Saint Pete. In 2004 I interned at the NBC affiliate in Tampa and drove across the bridge into the beach community often to be around its loveliness. In 2009 I also went to a reporters class at Poynter.
I have a stack full of thank you notes to write to the people who made this opportunity possible. This weekend I’m going back through all my notes so I can share a lot of what I learned with my friends at work. There was a heavy focus on better using social media in our field. We also talked a lot about conflict resolution which is a nifty skill for any job, as I’m sure you’d agree. I won’t bore you with the other professional development discussions we had over the six days, but I walked away extremely inspired and a little bit overwhelmed, in a great way, though. Just so much material and ideas going through my mind. I spent all my time with the other anchors. It was very cool as I pretty much live a solo existence waking up extremely early and going to bed before dark. So, it was fantastic to be with people who get me. We learned from each other and had fun with each other. We are all in different stages of our careers in a business that can eat people alive. Making so many new friends was a real treat.
Then when it was over – with so much on my mind – Matt met me for a long weekend to chill out. When I interned in Tampa I’d always wanted to stay at the big pink magical looking Don Cesar hotel. It was built in the late 20’s and has gone from a hotel to a WW2 era military hospital, veterans affairs office and finally a hotel again. What an interesting property. The hallways are all crazy wide. I imagine so the hospital beds could be wheeled through. Kinda creepy cool. I call her the pink lady or maybe I read that, can’t remember.
Another treat is that before the classes started a good friend of mine from the news biz met me a day early. We had a wonderful dinner and a Cuban lunch. Mostly just laughed with each other. Friends in Meridian will recognize her as Emily Gagnon, the sports anchor from WTOK. She’s now doing regional sports. Her life is super busy with football starting! Wishing her a lot of luck covering SEC football.
That part of Florida will always excite me. I just love it.