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Wishing myself a happy one-year at the T-R

August 29, 2014 - Brett Van Waus
It’s Aug. 31. Pumpkin spice lattes are available, my sister started school last week and my parents are back from Croatia. It hit me that summer was ending after I glanced at the date on my St. Louis Cardinals calendar hanging in my cubicle.

An even worse reality hit, this is the last three-day weekend until Thanksgiving.

It’s fall. This weekend kicks it off fall officially because I will go to an Iowa State game and cheer on the Cyclones. During this weekend last year I was preparing for the next step in my life, moving to Marshalltown and becoming a reporter for the Times-Republican.

Where did the time go?

I remember my first day like it was yesterday. My desk was sticky note free and empty. I sat there thinking how lucky I was to be part of a newspaper with such a large circulation and be able to write about crime, court and city council meetings. I also thought of the challenges I would face covering a town I knew nothing about.

That day I walked to the police department along Abigail’s side with a reporter’s notebook in my hand. I was official. I walked in the small police station to look through reports.

S.I., I had to initial each report. I learned what was a story and what wasn’t. Then I met the staff.

Abigail introduced me to Chief Tupper, Capt. Jones, Capt. Hanken and Capt. Batterson. I felt honored to meet them and a little nervous. I had nothing to hide from them, I just felt like they were celebrities.

I remember when I was assigned to my first story: a stand alone photo of the Mickey Mouse exhibit at the Marshalltown Public Library— riveting stuff. I remember making that first call to Sarah Rosenblum at the library to set up an interview. I said, “Hi this is Stephanie, I’m the new reporter at the Marshalltown Times-Republican...”

Covering that first city council meeting was the worst. I say this because I was new at it and it was something I had done only a few times before.

It was much different than covering an Urbandale, Johnston or Waukee council meeting. Instead of sitting with about three other people in an empty room, I was sitting at a special table in front of the room that was full of people.

After the first meeting I had a question. I went to ask Shari Coughenour and apparently was taking time into their closed session. I was embarrassed and still cringe thinking about it.

It’s now more than 680 bylines and numerous council meetings later.

The MPD staff became people I talk to on a daily basis, I look forward to city council meetings because they become easier and easier to cover, my desk is a mess and I’ve learned so much about reporting and Marshalltown.

I love doing what I do. I smile when I see people read the Times-Republican or have someone come up to me and compliment my blogs.

Until next week, thanks for reading.



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