Here I am: A new intern says hello

by Joe Murphy

Hey, how y’all doing? If you read this paper regularly, you’re probably looking at the byline and the accompanying photo and wondering who the hell I am. I’m Joe and I’m the summer intern. So for the next several months you’re stuck reading me rather than one of the seasoned and professional (i.e. paid) journalists that you’re used to.

I’ll go ahead and get the details out of the way. I’m currently a student at UNCG studying English. I was born and raised in Durham. Growing up everybody always called me Joey, but for some reason I’ve always thought “Joey” wasn’t formal enough for print, so my byline has always been Joe or Joseph.

Although I’ve never practiced this craft outside of college newspapers and classrooms, I think that YES! Weekly and alternative weeklies in general are more up my alley than some big corporate conglomerate like USA Today, where the person editing my work is in a different state and has never met me.

I played a lot of basketball growing up. I played soccer, baseball and plenty of backyard football too, but the school of thought when I hit adolescence was that if you focused on one sport, you’d end up better than a kid who played baseball, football and soccer too. And basketball seemed like my best bet because I was tall and had a nice jump shot honed in my parent’s driveway after school. So I did the AAU-circuit for awhile. I saw the best (and worst) middle school, high school, private school, community college, YMCA and recreation center gyms from Wilmington to Tennessee to Florida. My team, originally a club called the Triangle Knights, always accused the Greensboro Gaters — with their lucrative Reebok endorsement — of fixing the state tournament brackets each year to their advantage and our demise. At least that’s the way our parents and coaches explained it to us.

Though I didn’t end up with a scholarship, or even so much as a recruiting letter, I made a lot friends, learned many lessons about dealing with both triumph and adversity, and got trips to exotic locales like Johnson City, Tenn.; Cocoa Beach, Fla.; and Fairfax, Va. out of it. In retrospect, I’m glad I sacrificed those weekends that probably would have just been spent playing Dreamcast even though the glory never came.

I started off college at Appalachian State University and was there for their first national championship run in football. But I never stayed for a whole game that season, so don’t ask about any of them, though Boone was fun the night they won.

I’ve been living in Greensboro for three years now and have gradually come to consider it home.

My best memory of Greensboro from before I moved here was volunteering at the 2006 ACC Tournament and NCAA first round over spring break from Appalachian State. Between pushing people in wheelchairs at the beginning and the end of the games, my friend and I could catch the middle of the game from the entrances to the upper level. I’d only been to one game at the Greensboro Coliseum before and this time I got to soak it in and think about all the classic games and players the building — though reconstructed — had seen.

I’m not fluent in the whims of the local political scene, but it’s part of my job now and if there’s anybody who can catch me up to speed, it’s the guys I share an office with, Jordan Green and Keith Barber. They’ve already shown me useful things like where you can see photocopies of the donation checks written to local politicians’ campaigns and other practical things that I never learned in a journalism course.

My passion for writing and journalism sprung, initially, out of my love of sports. My reasoning for studying journalism at the time was because I wanted’ to go to games for free and get paid to write about them. But later, once I’d familiarized myself with Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese, I became frustrated that all I got to write about was sports. I guess at this point, I’m in it to get free concert tickets.

The main reason I’m glad I’m writing for an alt-weekly instead of a bigger daily paper is because our paper is already free in newsstands. So when daily newspapers have to worry about what content they’re going to make you pay for and on what platforms, the alt-weeklies won’t have to. And we kids don’t want to pay for anything we can live without. I like the feel of the paper in the morning too, but I also like trees.

Speaking of trees, the foliage that shades the city is probably my favorite thing about Greensboro. Greensboro’s neighborhoods were responsibly planned enough that a canopy of green flourishes over most of the metropolis. The College Hill area and the areas around Walker, Summit, Spring Garden, Aycock and even farther down Friendly and Lee streets all make for a pleasant stroll, even during the summer. But some of the newer, clear-cut apartment complexes look like a skid mark from above. I hope that future development in Greensboro is done in a way that maintains the area’s trees and integrity.

Whether from North Carolina or beyond, people come here to watch a game or a concert, go to school and get a degree, or work and do business. It must be some conglomeration of it all that makes Greensboro and the Triad an exciting place for students and young professionals, while still being known as a great place to raise a family.

A lot of people pass through this area in a given week, month or year and some, like me stay for awhile. Like many young people I used to fantasize about moving to a bigger city after college that would for some reason be better and more exciting than my current surroundings. But now I’ve come to realize that everything I am searching for is right here.