The chairman of the bored
By Ross Pattermann
When it comes to my job, I love the vast majority of it. I love being out among people, I love high-fiving the student-athletes that make up each and every sporting, or school event I cover and I love taking pictures.
I especially love the writing. I love taking a game and quotes, and stats and creating a story that entertains my readers, with a football story or basketball game. As a journalist, I have a unique opportunity to create a positive impact on a community.
I’d say I spend a good 85 percent of my time writing sports. And it’s a good thing I love sports, because that makes the job easy. I also spend a great deal of time providing coverage for nearly 20 school districts.
So, if you here in Cadott, Cornell or Holcombe, are wondering why you don’t often see me, well, I live in Colby, so I do a lot of those stories remotely from the office in Abbotsford.
It is hard to do sometimes, since I don’t have the benefit of my own two eyes to characterize the games I write about – interviews and stats usually do the trick, but sometimes I can find videos online of games.
I also cover village and school board meetings, and if there is one thing that is tough with my job, it’s these board meetings. Things like policies and taxes, and TIF districts and budget hearings, can make a guy go crazy.
I loathe attending board meetings, or as I like to call them “bored” meetings. Sometimes, you get a juicy topic to write about that easily presents itself. Other times, you’re sifting and searching to discover the main idea, wondering why you ever became a journalist.
There’s a lot of pressure to cover board meetings. When there is money on the line, it puts that much more pressure on me to get it right.
But board meetings are necessary things.
Take school board meetings, for example. It’s huge and important issues that are facing schools today, with changing demands because of technology and social media, but also because of changing demographics.
School boards have their work cut out for them. Their board members work long hours, travel on the road quite a lot, and are focused on making the schools better for each and every child who wearily trudges through the school hallways, every day during the school year.
Just recently, Oct. 6-12, was School Board Appreciation Week across Wisconsin, but I’m here to say the appreciation shouldn’t last just one week, but should be every week.
The job is difficult, not a lot of people want it and it requires fine attention to detail, across a variety of topics. But they do it because it makes a school, a community and a student, that much better, that much more cared for and provided for.