Gaylord High School, Journalism, Ohio University

No matter what, there’s no place like home

Courtesy of Nicole Kleinas

Over my winter intersession I have written upward of 30 stories, designed 24 pages, photographed five events, broadcasted two games, put up three multimedia pieces and moderated a live blog.

I have worked for three publications, the distance between one another spanning hundreds, if not thousands of miles.

I have bought an iPhone and my first real camera. My first lens is in the mail and will be here on Christmas Eve.

In summary, when does break start again?

I have been blessed with several tremendous opportunities over the past couple of weeks. My workload has been heavy, but that is not a reason for concern. Honestly, if you know me, you know that I don’t sit still very well. I have continued to write for The Post in Athens, while tacking on my hometown paper, the Gaylord Herald Times and a next-door neighbor, The Alpena News.

Each publication is so different, yet primarily the same. My responsibilities are different for each, forming a perfect storm of creative, athletic and newsy work. I couldn’t be happier with how everything has worked out.

In Alpena, I have been working a couple of days a week as a local news intern, documenting everything from a downtown water break to a Santa visit and several charitable events. My time with The News has opened my eyes to the world of a daily paper, which is really not unlike anything I have ever been a part of, other than there is a product on readers’ doorsteps every morning and staffers work odd hours.

For The Post, my work has been scattered between covering the Ohio athletic department and the work of the football and women’s basketball teams. I have covered games in Athens, Boise and Las Vegas without leaving my room. Even though it’s obviously much better watch the game in person, it’s crazy to think that I covered games across the country from the confines of my couch, bed and desk.

My hours spent with the Herald Times have been great as always. Most of my work has been the creative type, laying out pages and taking photos. I’ve also gotten the opportunity to write a couple of longer features and cover my old hockey team, which I have posted about before.

It’s cool to go back to the HT and do what I had done for years, just do it better, in my opinion. Being able to apply everything I have learned at school has been a gratifying experience.

The coolest part of my intersession, aside from covering the Mid-American Conference Championship at Ford Field, has been spending some time on the radio waves.

I was lucky enough to do some color commentary for a pair of high school broadcasts over the last two weeks. In the past, I had done one broadcast — a high school game live from the Palace of Auburn Hills, the home of the Detroit Pistons — and had been a regular on the Monday Night Sports Wrap, a sports talk radio program. I had co-hosted the show on a couple of occasions as well.

Being on the radio is cool, I think, because the analyst has the opportunity to not only report facts, but can give opinions as well. It’s a powerful position, simply because the listeners only get the information that you provide to them.

I also enjoyed doing the games on the air because I knew almost all of the local athletes involved. They were my classmates, teammates and friends. Covering their games is special to me because not long ago I was in their shoes.

What I have learned since I have been home is not limited to the journalistic arena, however. The best part of being here is seeing the people I left behind.

The toughest part of going to school in a different state is completely starting over. That’s obvious. I relished the opportunity to do my own thing, to blaze my own path and follow my dreams. That being said, upon my return home, I realized that very few can relate to my college experience thus far.

When my friends that go to school in Michigan meet up, they can relate to one another, sharing stories and common experiences from the past 10 or 12 weeks. The best I can do is describe the scene on Court Street and relay what it’s like to experience daily life in Athens.

Coming back to where I started has been great for me because it’s a reminder that I have people back home that are following me and my work.

I can watch my stories’ hit counter rise from any computer anywhere. All it takes is a password and a couple of clicks. When people tell me that they have been keeping up on my work, it makes me want to do that much more to continue to keep them interested. After all, what the heck does Athens’ happenings matter to them?

It’s cool to me when I hear people say that they read my blog. I like it when my friends steal my pictures and post them on Facebook. Heck, if I’m not making money off them, someone might as well use them!

Long story short, it’s gratifying for me to know that people care. The fact that people go out of their way to read my stuff is incredibly flattering. For that, I am extremely thankful.

To take a step back — or to the side, or wherever, really — being home has cemented the internal notion that I am doing the right things with my life.

I have spent the past couple of weekends covering my old hockey team, which is doing remarkably better this season than it had in the four years I was a part of it. Although I spent the majority of my time during those games either up on the scissor lift with my camera or in the crow’s nest, microphone in hand, I took a lot of time to catch up with those that were active in my home life.

After the initial questioning about school and writing, nearly every individual asked me if I missed hockey.

For the quick response, I always answered with a “not really” or something along the lines of “I haven’t thought about it”.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was more than that.

During the second weekend, I expanded my answer just a little. I found myself raising my arms and just kind of looking around. “I don’t miss hockey, but I miss this,” I would say.

That’s the closest to the truth that I can put into words, I have decided. By no means do I miss hockey. As much as I love the sport, it caused me so much heartache and so many more sleepless nights than I would have ever chosen for myself. I was always the type of kid that would thrive on the competition, but that’s besides the point. The circumstance is only a means of me saying what I have to say.

When I say that I miss “this”, I mean that I missed driving around town with my bros and running into a family friend every time I go to the store. I missed shaking 10 hands when I go to a game, knowing all of the parents and volunteers’ names. Mostly, I just missed the people.

There’s no doubt that things are completely different for me than they were when I left Gaylord. Returning home, I feel like everything is the same except where I fit into the picture. In many instances, I slide right back into things just like normal. Sometimes things just aren’t what they used to be. That’s okay too, it just takes some getting used to.

Really, I can’t imagine living my high school life again. For lack of better wording, it’d be so weird.

I still have some stuff to do while I’m home and there are important people I have not yet caught up with. Regardless of how the next week unfolds, though, I know that I will be reinvigorated for the upcoming quarter of school.

Because, no matter where I’ve been, the workload I’ve had and the changes I’ve experienced, one constant remains — there’s no place like home.

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Discussion

8 thoughts on “No matter what, there’s no place like home

  1. Jim Ryan. Your dedication to your writing is so simply awesome. Also, you inspire me to step up my game, because really, my blog is more for inspiring, but this makes me want to actually blog. You rock.

    Posted by Jelli | December 21, 2011, 12:44 am
  2. Great news on the camera and lens – what did you get?

    Posted by Patrick Kerwin | December 21, 2011, 7:58 am
    • I got a Canon 60D… Good for video as well because it has a flip-out screen. So far it’s nice. I’ve only used it a handful of times, but I’ve definitely seen an improvement over my old one.
      As far as the lens goes, I’m working toward a 70-200 2.8 canon. That’s my big fish. For now, I have a 24-70 canon on the way. It’s a 2.8, so good for sports.
      Thanks for reading!

      Jim

      Posted by James Ryan | December 21, 2011, 10:04 am
      • sweet camera – i want a 70-200 2.8 also! i just upgraded my camera too—a refurbished Nikon D90, has a larger sensor.

        Posted by Patrick Kerwin | December 21, 2011, 10:15 am
      • Patrick,
        The D90 was a runner-up option for me. Has good specs for the price in my opinion. Refurbs are the way to go for sure. I got mine for $300 less than MSRP.

        Posted by James Ryan | December 21, 2011, 5:48 pm
  3. Another nice blog post Jim. I remember my freshman year at college, and coming home…..just a weird feeling, but becomes normal in time. Nice choice on the lens, as the 2.8 is the important number to work with. One you build the funds, the 70-200 2.8 will be your workhorse, but then you will have both. Have a great holiday before you head back to that nasty state below us Lol, although the Athens campus is beautiful. I took a visit there when I was thinking about post graduate studies in sports administration.

    Posted by Rob DeForge | December 21, 2011, 12:39 pm
    • Thanks Rob!
      It feels great to be here, but weird at the same time. As good as the break has been, though, I think it’s about time to head back to nasty ‘ol Ohio. (I still think the state as a whole is no good, but I sure like the Athens area!)
      The 2.8 is important.. I just didn’t want to buy the big one first and have no money left… ever… to buy a lens to take everyday photos.
      I’m sure I’ll have some questions to email you once I start shooting basketball.
      Thanks again!

      Posted by James Ryan | December 21, 2011, 5:50 pm

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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