Jon Chaiim McConnell
Alex’s first job out of journalism school was to report from a 50 square-foot box at the edge of a suburban intersection in Johnsonville, Maryland. Down the road to the west of this box was a fashionably overgrown runoff marsh at the dead end of a lane of houses, and behind her in the other direction was, eventually, a very nice cul-de-sac. But she was to ignore these areas. Her job was to stay in the square at all times. One of the ladies who dropped her off in the van (the Director of HR, if she remembered correctly) had taken a long spraywand and marked each corner boundary with green paint to make sure she understood.
“Green’s a fun color,” this lady had said, before pointing out to Alex that just because the lines did not connect didn’t mean they were not there.
“It’s aesthetic,” the woman said, “and meant to lift morale, but please do not make me regret it.”
This was her beat, Alex was told, and she was meant to take it seriously.