published Sunday, January 4th, 2009

"Who are you? What do you do?"


by Chloé Morrison

Chloe Morrison, reporter, on her first visit to the Times Free Press in 2003 ...

I was a freshman or sophomore at UTC and we had to do a "mini internship" shadowing someone for a day. I wanted to focus on print journalism, so my professor got me hooked up with features editor Mark Kennedy at the Times Free Press.

I ended up going out and about with Ashley Heher, a reporter who now works for the Associated Press in Chicago. I asked her questions and quietly observed and it was a helpful experience. But the part that sticks out the most and is the most amusing to me now involves Sunday editor Chris Vass.

I was sort of hovering around the newsroom awkwardly — not knowing what to do and feeling very green and a little intimidated — when Chris stopped whatever she was doing and looked me right in the eye.

Then she said, “Who are you? What do you do?”

I managed to speak and tell her that I was a job shadow, at which point she just went back to her business.

What makes the story great is that, now, nearly three years into a full-time position here, I know that Chris is not a scary editor — although that is not to say she isn’t a strong one. As a young college student, I was just taken aback by her frank question.

Today, I work more closely with her and I still see her draw respect effortlessly, as she did from me upon our first meeting.

I also like the story because it is evidence of how far I have come. I’ve grown from a somewhat timid college student into an adult and professional journalist. I know that today if faced with a similar circumstance I would not be thrown off by a little candor.

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