You would think that after working as a photojournalist in Toronto for more than 17 years, going out on assignment would be old hat. Well, as I learned this week, this wasn't exactly the case.
My first day at the Globe was Monday. Once I finished the required paperwork and HR briefings, the rest of the day was spent getting to know my way around the newsroom, and more importantly, beginning to meet the many new men and women I'd be working with in the future. I've been joking that it took me 17 years to get to know "most" of the people at One Yonge Street - The Star - and now I have to start over! It shouldn't be that bad, however, because with some of the recent "trading" of talent between the two major dailies, I already know quite a few of the reporters and editors in the newsroom. Everybody has been very welcoming, and it has been very a very positive experience. I've felt great all week! My fellow staffers, and even some of the regular freelancers at the Globe were great in welcoming me. One photographer - KVP - even returned from the cafeteria with a large smirk, and a tray full of carrot cake for "Pete's first day!" How'd he know I love carrot cake?
We had a small glitch getting my gear, so that was delayed until Tuesday. After taking March break off with my family, and then sitting by while the other photographers were producing images, I was really itching to get started. Amidst a "shopping trip" and all the "niggly" bits that I had to get done, I went looking for a feature picture, finally, late on Tuesday. It was the last few hours of winter, and the eve of spring. The image I came up with was pretty graphic, and unbelievably tongue-in-cheek, but I desperately felt the need to make a picture.
I was chuckling to myself when I saw this on the sidewalk, and even the security guards - three of them - who came outside to discourage my "photography" left me alone when I explained what I was doing. We all had a good chuckle at it.
Needless to say, I didn't submit my first picture at the Globe to the archive, because I really didn't want it to be my first published image in Canada's National Newspaper. That image would wait until the following day, when two Wednesday assignments led to two published photographs on Thursday. One was a pre-budget assignment of Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, and the other an ROB shoot of Toronto Mayor David Miller. For whatever reason, the feelings I had at my first assignment were very different. I think I was actually nervous! But that soon changed when I had to beginning making pictures, and I'm sure all will be normal from here on in.
It was nice, but weird, bumping into a Star colleague at my first assignment, and I believe Rick has images of me doing my thing for the competition. If not doing my thing, then perhaps just getting my bald bean in his way!
On Wednesday evening I was supposed to attend the Star's going-away party for CJ who has also decided to leave there and join the growing staff at the Globe. I ended up getting there late, and only staying a short time, but I was happy to make it at all.
Late in the afternoon an out of town assignment came up that a couple of us jokingly volunteered for. I certainly had no thoughts of traveling any time soon, and certainly not during my first week! Eventually the assignment became a go, and I was asked if I could travel "next week." Nice of them to ask so nicely, I thought, and as usual Kathleen was terrific about making things work at home, and encouraging me to take the assignment. As is often the case in our industry, next week became tomorrow, and tomorrow became "can you leave tonight?" Well. Yes. Of course. One editor in particular was very excited to get me out the door. (You know who you are!) And I quipped, "The last time I saw that look on his face I ended up in Mogadishu!"
Getting me out the door, at the last minute, and not exactly fully kitted-out for the road took some doing from a number of folks, but with a few late departures from the office and some seriously good tech help from one home, I was on my way. It's amazing how one gets used to a certain work-flow, and adjusting to a new one will still take a few more days to "refine," but we got me to the point where I could get the job done, and the guys in the office could work with what I provided.
So the remainder of my week was spent doing a ton of traveling, and a small amount of shooting, for what is, I believe a really good story, published in Saturday's Globe and Mail. It was a good call by the team on Front Street, and I'm happy it worked out the way it did.
I'll speak more about this trip in my next post.
So. Week One at the Globe and Mail is in the books. So far I like the environment. I like the general attitude. And I like very much the co-operation amongst co-workers, and the product that's being produced. It has been a very promising beginning, and I'm looking forward to many more weeks, months, and years of the same.