Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Shit Farm

Everyday brings something new and exciting when working at the Missourian.

Today, I was introduced to the term Shoveling Shit by a couple of the editors I am working for. After seeing their expressions when they noticed I was listening, I have s feeling this was something I was not supposed to hear.

Shoveling Shit - (v) sho-vel-ing shit, 1. To edit stories written by half-ass reporters who do not know what is going on. 2. To move shit from location to another with a shovel.

I have a feeling it was more geared for the first definition rather than the second. Still, it gave me a little glimpse into how the editors really view the paper they work for.

For years I, and many others in the School of Journalism, have made fun of the Missourian because it is not, shall we say, the strongest when it comes to writing and news coverage. We heard from Juniors and Senior who had already worked there that the whole process of writing for the Missourian made them gag.

It was painful, I was told.

It only made my anticipation for writing for the Missourian grow even more anxious when I would think about how there were editors who actually enjoyed working for this paper. People who were full-time employees. People who actually committed themselves to this.

Why, I would think, would someone want to do this? The natural conclusion that we, as a people from the outside, came to was that the editors were worthless.

Why not? Could these editors not get a job somewhere else? Where they relegated to working at a worthless newspaper because they, themselves, were worthless?

No, with the revelation of this one term I found that it was not the editors who were worthless; it was still the writers. It is the editors who have to deal with the crap that 200 novice reporters give them on a daily basis.

You try reading 15-inch stories that read like stereo instructions about the latest city council meeting. So, it seems, they have created this term, Shoveling Shit, to give a shed a little light on what it is they have to wade through and form into some kind of news story every day.

It's funny to think about - editors/teachers making fun of their own students because of their poor performance. It gave me a new respect for the people who have to shovel my own shit that I think is God's gift to news.