Let me tell you a personal story, since I’ve been doing that lately.
As you probably know, I am a reporter for a newspaper. I write stories, take photographs and do web design stuff.
But I also copy edit all the bulk items that go into the paper (we call it filler, though no one likes to know that).
I’m the only one who reads it, unless I’m running behind and hand some off to the only person in the newsroom who has been here less time than me.
Friday, I read a bunch because I had some time. It was great (meaning, I hate this part of my job, and find it so mundane).
We’re running a whole bunch of FFA stuff in this coming issue of our paper, and I had to read all the copy for that.
I made a lot of changes. It’s what I do. Things need to follow our style (which is mainly AP style, but also some of our own style rules), and they need to be consistent in one article.
The woman who types all these articles up just called me a few minutes ago.
She said she wasn’t going to make those changes because it was someone writing those and we should leave it.
My first reaction is: what a dumb reason. Something is wrong, let’s change it. We shouldn’t leave it that way just because someone submitted it to us that way.
but instead of saying that…
I say, “OK, but here is why I made those changes.”
She goes on… saying we shouldn’t change it.
I’m just getting more irritated. I have read the AP style guide. I work in a newsroom. I know what I’m talking about. There’s a reason I am the one who copy edits those! It’s not just because I’m the low man on the totem pole. I am a subject matter expert when it comes to style.
She ends the call. “OK.”
Except she says it ooooooooohhhhh kay.
I was respectful, I explained where I was coming from. I didn’t downplay her experience.
I am just SICK of the excuse “we’ve always done it that way.”
I don’t care about that, I don’t care about what you did in the past. I care about making this newspaper the best it can be.
The best it can be is following style when we should, cutting out style when we must.
An FFA submitted article is when we should absolutely follow style.
When I first started this post I was going to talk about reactions…
but really, I am so just, upset about this conversation. I can’t get her reaction out of my head.
I can’t believe I let people make me feel this way, when I know I am right. In this situation, I am right, and I think something should change.
I can’t let her bring me down like this. That gives her the control.
She’s not even a bad person. She’s just old and set in her ways. (And I’m not saying she’s old because she’s 30. She’s in her 60s for sure.)
I’ve felt this tension since I started working here, actually, and it only got worse when I told her I was Catholic.
I don’t know what to do. I do know that when I walk by her the next time, to go fill my water bottle, I’m not going to appear upset or changed at all.
That conversation DIDN’T change my mood. If I can fake it, I can make it.