Why? Well, today I decided that, if people didn't pick up the phone when I called them, I would leave them a message AND email them. And the emails brought results.
The person in charge of this project gave my next-desk neighbor (who I thiiiink is also an intern?) and me a revised game plan today. There were certain schools highlighted on our Google spreadsheets, and those schools had a specific program or building that we were to call and ask about. There was often also a point of contact and phone number already listed, which was awesome. So today there was less mucking around on the Internet looking for stuff and less mucking around in telephone transfer land.
And I actually heard back from some people! I think the whole email thing helped. Like, I would totally be more willing to answer questions over email than over the phone (but then again, you know how I feel about the phone). I got to talk to a really interesting professor at the College of William and Mary about a dual degree program. She was very willing to talk about it, which was AWESOME.
But as the person in charge of the project was telling us about the new additions to the spreadsheet, she also went over the kinds of questions we were supposed to be asking. She encouraged us not to feel limited to the questions on our scripts, but to follow up on some of the details if we found them interesting. She finished up with a very trusting "You know, you're journalists."
At that moment, my brain shot back a rather unexcited "Uh, I'm actually an English major. I write about old poetry and stuff. All this interviewing and reporting stuff is not my thing."
But you know what I did today? I conducted interviews. I compiled research to be used in a magazine article. I fact-checked another article. I scoured the Internet and called every phone number I could find in order to find elusive information
I AM A JOURNALIST.
I might be a journalist who is slightly afraid of talking to people on the phone, but so what?
It got easier and easier to pick up the phone and call people as the day went on. I think I stopped worrying about it so much. I also stopped sticking so closely to the script and started talking a bit more naturally. Honestly, I think it helped that I realized that I wasn't actually going to get to talk to a human being about 80% of the time.
But when I actually did get to talk to a human being and I actually got a whole stinkin' lot of work done? It felt awesome. I felt like some kind of confident and news-savvy reporter. I kind of felt like Lois Lane and began wondering if some kind of awesome Richmond superhero was going to show up and be my boyfriend.
I mean a good version of Lois Lane, of course. I'm definitely not comparing myself to some kind of weak and swooning type. I was thinking of the DC Animated Universe Lois Lane, who's full of snark and awesomeness.
See? Very few people can get away with hitting Batman.
The only thing about today, though, was that I realized halfway through the day that I kept writing things like "We are writing a story" and "Please give us a call back" in my emails instead of using words like "me" and "I." In reality, I was doing that because I was giving out one of the higher-ups' numbers and not my own, and the entire time I was really just doing research for the person who would actually end up writing the story, so it was more a collaborative effort than anything.
But it made me start thinking weird things... Like I had been sucked into the conglomerate being of the magazine staff, and we were all trapped together in this hive mind, and all I was was just a hand of the giant being that is the magazine...
So yeah, I think I'm going to stick with comparing myself to Lois Lane. I think I need to make up a superhero for Richmond. New York has all kinds of superheroes, and I'm pretty sure Los Angeles or San Francisco have some, but you never hear about a Richmond superhero. How do you feel about Rich Boy?