Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A New Beginning — I think

What a month it's been.

Not only has the 2010 postseason begun (and nearly ended) for baseball, softball, boys volleyball, track and golf in Southern Nevada, but so too has the school year. That means a big rush of news at the preps desk, but the looming death of news on the horizon (and long vacations that come with it for us prep staffers).

In the mean time, my sports editor mentioned to me about the possibility of a job next year. Unfortunately, it's not just on the sports desk (something I don't want to do in journalism), but it also involves completing the scoreboard page (or "agate work," as we call it in da biz). It's not the job I want, need, or desire. But it's a job; and right now, after far too many rejected applications and resumes that weren't even rejected but lost  in the shuffle on a managing editor's desk, I'm willing to accept whatever I can get.

So I put my name in for the position, and hope to hear back for final approval from the publisher soon.  It took me a week of agony over it, during which time I tried everything to get a concrete answer as to what I should do.

First, I went to the temple. The Las Vegas temple is a beautiful building, with a gorgeous celestial room, a place where I've visited many times (though probably not as many I should). And it was while sitting in this celestial room that I felt this strong prompting that led me to only one conclusion: I need to go to grad school. Plus, the thought of performing agate work made me physically ill. Answer received, right? Not so fast.

The next day was Sunday, a day long awaited by young single Mormons like myself not only for spiritual refreshment but also social interaction. And my ward is no different. So as I was enjoying the renewal of my ward's sacrament meeting, I got another feeling. And this one was even stronger than the first: this is a good place. You should stay here. The Lord needs you here.

In a moment that can only be described as 'WTF?' I was shocked. How could God tell me to do two things that seemed a complete contradiction to each other? How could he tell me to leave my current situation and go to grad school, then turn around the next day and tell me he needed me where I am?

I know that often times the Lord gives us answers to prayers that seem more like, "well, I'm going to give you the ball, and you figure out how to drive to the hoop." But during this week, I felt more like the answer was, "I want you to dribble to the top of the key, then hit a long jumper, and also drive inside for an easy layup on the same play." I can handle making decisions; I've never had that problem before (hence the reason I'm in Las Vegas with no family, no friends, and nothing more than a meager internship in a mid-level media market). But to do two things at once? I'm struggling with this decision.

So maybe this is one of those "choose ye this day" moments that I need to learn. And I've chosen. Now for the waiting for the rest of the day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Associated Press, why hast thou failed me?

AP StylebookThere are three types of people in this world: those who can count, and those who can't.

Obviously, I fall into the latter category.

But while mathematics has never been my strong suit, I am very much a nerd in other ways: English grammar and style. Maybe that's what makes my goal of being a top-notch copy editor at a major newspaper so strong. I love playing with words, editing news stories, and inserting the smallest changes in usage and punctuation to make things better.

Which is why the Associated Press surprised me a few weeks ago. After drilling into my head that "Web site" was the accepted reference for what the uneducated masses refer to as a "website," the AP switched gears and decided that "website" would be its accepted reference, while maintaining "World Wide Web," "Web page," and "the Web."

Has the world gone mad? Has illiteracy run such a rampant course across the world that the leader in newspaper and media style is willing to bend its rules to subject itself to the masses?

There are two main uses for capitalization: the beginning of a sentence, and for proper nouns (Strange that "proper noun" isn't a proper noun, eh?). Obviously, if "website" begins a sentence, it would be subjected to "Website," but there is such little chance of this occurring, as "website," as a noun, will require an article, such as "the," "his" or "her."

But what of the other definition? The Web is a proper noun, short for World Wide Web. This stems from the early days of the Internet (note the capitalization and proper noun), when the "information superhighway" connected the world "like a giant spider web."

So why does the AP feel like now, it's appropriate to deem the "web" in "website" as a regular noun, while maintaining the proper noun of "Web" and "Web page?" Such an issue boggles my mind.

Regardless, for the sake of consistency, and in adherence to the almighty powers of the Associated Press Stylebook, I'll support this change. But I don't have to like it. Nor will I ever.