Adam Lawson Current position: Sports Reporter with Minot Daily News Class of 2012 - former Pendulum assistant sports editor
MINOT, N.D. — Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect moving halfway across the country for my first post-grad job.
It was one of those things where you make a decision because doing so lets you do what you love. I wanted to write about sports. So, when the Minot Daily News came calling, giving me the chance to do just that, I gladly took them up on the offer.
Still, I had to drive a long way for the opportunity. For somebody who had never driven further than the three or so hours from Elon to Myrtle Beach, S.C., this was no small feat.
I made it to Minot — the Magic City — on June 1, about two and a half days after I left Elon. Luckily, I had an apartment on hold for me, where I’d be living with the sports guy from the local television station.
Having a place to live was a victory in itself. A little background information on Western North Dakota: It’s the opposite of the economic horror stories you see on the national news.
The North Dakota oil boom started in late 2008, its epicenter in Williston, just a couple hours from here. Lots of new jobs popped up, and the state has the boom to thank for the lowest unemployment rate in the country (3.0 percent).
This created a problem. Thousands of people moved to Minot and its surrounding areas to work in the Williston oil rigs. The demand for housing greatly exceeded the supply available, leaving many homeless. A massive flood hit Minot almost exactly a year ago and did even more damage.
I’m very fortunate. Fortunate to be living in an actual two-bedroom apartment, complete with living room and kitchen, instead of in my car.
I couldn’t be happier with the job I have. It’s a little bit of a strange dynamic, going overnight from being one of the oldest staff members at The Pendulum to the youngest person in my current newsroom . But I’ve been blessed with two co-workers in the sports department that know everything there is to know about writing.
I’ve learned more about improving my craft in my 26 days here than I thought imaginable. But the most important lesson I can impart on young writers is to make your writing concise.
That doesn’t mean reducing every article you write to three grafs. It means making every single word you use fit. Make your story flow. Superfluous words added in the middle of a line get in the way of that goal and impede on the ability to write the best story possible.
As a single sports writer, the lifestyle that comes with this job suits me perfectly. I wake up at about noon five days a week, eat lunch, watch whatever reality television show I missed the night before on my laptop and arrive to work at around 3 p.m.
From there, I make phone calls to arrange interviews I need to conduct to successfully write whatever story I may be working on. Several days a week I get to leave in the middle of my day to cover a sporting event — at this point of the year we typically stick to American Legion baseball within our coverage area and auto racing at the local track, though I did write a feature/gamer on roller derby a couple of weeks ago.
I get back to the office after the game and write my story, typically pounding out 16 or 18 inches in about 45 minutes. I pass it to my editor, we make any changes that need to be made and publish the story so the page designer can put it on the page.
I leave the office at about 11:30, depending on when our deadline that night is and how soon we can type all the agate for the scoreboard page. It’s an eight-hour day, but it doesn’t feel that way when you cover an event and write a story you’re proud of all in a day’s work.
I’ve been here 26 days and have no regrets about coming here. I make enough money to live comfortably. But more importantly, I meet interesting people, go to sporting events and write about those events. That’s my job description.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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