Good Morning: The past eight years

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

They say that time flies when you are having fun.

Does the same hold true for when you are working hard because the last eight years have certainly felt like it.  This week marks my eighth year with the Herald Democrat, and at times it hardly feels like nearly a decade has gone by.

At times it feels all of the eight years that I've spent covering the news of Grayson County and Texoma. However, other times it feels just like yesterday that I came into town for the first time, notepad in hand.

I started in this job in late November 2013 as my first paid position in journalism after graduating from college in the spring semester. Stepping into the job, I really didn't know what I was stepping into, despite my education. The art of journalism, from writing to knowing how and what to report, is something that you can learn the basics of in the classroom, but it is something that can only master by doing it.

I can still remember my first day of work like it was just yesterday. I arrived at my first day of work just before 8 a.m. and started my morning with training and learning the style guide for the paper. From there, I started with basic stories that didn't require a lot of background: a covered the canvassing of the election, which had just been held earlier that month. 

At the time, I hadn't yet been assigned a specific beat, and I primarily filled in where needed. This led to my reputation as the "alphabet soup" reporter who covered many organizations, each with their own acronym or letters strung together. It would be a few months before I became the Denison reporter full time, and later still the Sherman reporter.

From there, I  started on my first piece of reporting that required more work — I was asked to write a story about the recent expansion of TAPS, who was planning a regional hub at the time. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the time, as I was still out of my element. Once again, some things take time.

I ended my first day much like I ended this past Monday: covering the Sherman School Board. I still remember ending the day thoroughly exhausted. However, as I said with other parts of the job, getting past that is just something you've got to learn.