At Patch, I found journalists of all ages determined to produce quality and relevant stories. Those same journalists also knew time wasn't on their side. The Patch game was about the number of stories, not about writing the definitive piece with seven sources. One had to adjust one's expectation for success.
Two quick stories, or three, over a week's time on a topic was just as good as a single definitive piece.
My news writing was rusty after six years off from working as a daily newspaper reporter. News writing is so different than story telling. Story telling proceeds in chronological order, largely. News writing is structured in what's called the inverted pyramid, with the most important bit of news pushed up to the top and all corresponding relevant information following.
I found my joy working for Patch in the fact that I could hog all the photo assignments, as I was the local editor.
I always dreamed of working as a staff photographer. In the newsrooms I worked, I was as likely to be found hanging out with the photographers in the photo departments as I was at a vending machine in the cafeteria trying to shake loose a Snickers without paying.
I enjoyed taking photos for Patch. Then my kick ass camera broke down after my first week of work. When that happened, the universe patiently waited for me to stop swearing in order to inform me that I could still take as many photos as I liked. I simply had to use the crappy Patch point-and-shoot camera.
After more swearing and waiting, the universe informed me that a real photographer would accept this turn of events as a challenge.
Sometimes I hate the universe.