Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What a difference a year makes

A year ago, I was a very unhappy girl in a part of the country that would never feel like home. I was preparing to go to my first Society of News Design conference. While I was excited to learn a bunch of stuff and bring it back to my newspaper, I was also planning on networking my butt off. I knew there was something better in the world and that I wasn't going anywhere in Savannah.

So I went, and I did network my butt off. It's amazing how many people saw that I had worked for the Savannah Morning News and asked when the paper was going to start winning awards again. (SMN used to be a leader in design. In fact, the director of SND used to work in Savannah. Then corporate took over, but that's another story.) I laughed it off, but in the back of my mind I knew that wasn't going to happen again.

I made it a point to attend the studio consolidation panel, where representatives from Scripps, Gannett, Tribune Co. and others talked about the consolidations of portions their newsrooms. I asked questions because I was concerned about the lack of communication the studios would foster. I think I made an impression.

Then I went to the Gannett meet and greet. I know I made an impression there, as I had three creative directors after me afterward. I ended up taking a job with the Des Moines studio less than a month later.

Fast forward a year. I'm attending another SND conference -- this time in Cleveland. And this time, Gannett is sponsoring me. Out of the 70-some designers in the studio, they tapped me to help represent Des Moines in Ohio. Sure, they might just want to keep an eye on me, but I think there's something else there, too. I'm a positive force in the studio. I help out whenever I can. I teach, but I am also learning a lot and doing some cool things.

I can say I am 100% happier than I was a year ago. I can't chalk all of that up to the studio (insert sappy remark about my boyfriend here), but one of my life goals has always been to be happy in my work life. I'm not saying I'll be here forever, but right now, I am a happy, happy girl.

Who else will be in Cleveland Oct.11-13? I hope to see you there!