Monthly McAlester News-Capital Roundup

I’m about a month away from wrapping up my third football season with the McAlester News-Capital. And while it’s not always easy to see my own improvement, there are a few things I’ve recently noticed that I think show progress:

1) I’m faster: During my first football season, I usually had to get in between 8-9 a.m. Saturday mornings to be able to write all my content and get it paginated on deadline. Now I’m able to do more Friday nights, then drift in around 10-10:30 and still get it all done. I can write a raw gamer (no quotes) for most sports in about 30-40 minutes, then need only about 10-15 minutes to insert the quotes (and that’s if I’m transcribing an interview, not copying and pasting quotes over the phone). It takes me slightly longer to do features, but I’m still faster at that than I used to be.

2) I’m more confident: Two years ago I let a coach dictate the angle of a feature I wanted to do on his team. I recently was at a game where one his players hit a major individual accomplishment, and even though he asked me to downplay that in favor of a story on the team overall, I point-blank and repeatedly told him “No” and that the accomplishment would be both the headline and the first part of the story. I maintained this response even when he grabbed my jacket in what felt like an equally jovial and hostile manner.

3) I manage my time better: I try to avoid requesting overtime when I can, and in the last few months I feel like I’ve needed it far less than I would’ve two years ago (the one exception being the week I had to focus on the football preview magazine, but that’s unavoidable). Despite more or less living at the Jr. Sunbelt Tournament in June, I still finished at most a couple hours over 40, and at least two-thirds of my weeks this fall have ended right at 40. I used to occasionally work off the clock just so I wouldn’t be slammed the next day — now I don’t have to.

Here’s everything I’ve written in the last month.

Pitt 8 announces fastpitch All-Conference team

Midweek Update: Red Oak returns to State

Buffs Replay: McAlester at Bishop Kelley

Lady Buffs swept at Regionals

Buffs host Bulldogs in top-10 showdown

Buffs miss chances against Bulldogs

Box score: Skiatook 27, McAlester 26

Region Roundup: Miners top No. 3 Vian

Pittsburg holds annual elementary hoops tourney

Tuesday Night Jackpot ends 2014 season

Senior Spotlight: Kyle Morley part of McAlester tradition

Senior Spotlight: Keaton Slater leads from the sideline

Midweek Update: Buffs drop in football polls

Senior Spotlight: Mills finally gets to shine

Buffs Replay: McAlester vs. Skiatook

Know Your Foe: Bears welcome Buffs to Noble

Wood’s 7 TDs fuel Buffs blowout

Box score: McAlester 63, Noble 20

Senior Spotlight: Riley Smith hits. Hard.

Region Roundup: Warriors win, end three-year drought

Buffs coach to leave next semester

Midweek Update: Red Oak fastpitch wins State

Senior Spotlight: Matt Ferrell holds the line

Senior Spotlight: Dalton Wood can’t be stopped

Buffs Replay: McAlester at Noble

Know Your Foe: Buffs face winless Rangers in Tulsa

Buffs shut out Rangers with ease

Box score: McAlester 63, Hale 0

Region Roundup: Miners win district

McAlester Pom holds Zombie Run 5K

Senior Spotlight: Football a family matter for Robby Stephens

Midweek Update: Buffs and Miners climb in rankings

Senior Spotlight: Michael Mines settles in McAlester

Buffs Replay: McAlester at Hale

Senior Spotlight: Jacob Patterson hits his spots

Senior Spotlight: Shelton Fry can’t stay away

Senior Spotlight: Tanner Talbot stays active

Know Your Foe: Buffs host Wolves in district showdown

Buffs lead Wolves 42-7 at halftime

Buffs crush Wolves on Senior Night

Box score: McAlester 56, Shawnee 30

Region Roundup: Savages win Homecoming game

Clift nets milestone in Cowgirls win

Veterans lead Cowboys to victory