Captain’s log – Star date Nov. 8 – Capt. Gordon Dritschilo is transported back to Castleton State College to reminisce on what might have been.Unfortunately his dream of interstellar star travel on the Enterprise fell short, so he resorted to his back-up plan – working as a beat reporter for the Rutland Herald.
The 31-year-old Proctor, Vt. native visited Professor David Blow’s newsgathering and writing class to explain the life of a beat reporter, his love of beer-making, cooking, his management of The Cairn (now The Spartan) – and Star Trek.
“It’s the best job,” he said waving his hands emphatically. “All day long I get to talk to people and write about it – and they pay me!”
Dritschilo, after minimal sleep from covering the election the night before, told students how he kicked off his journalism career by getting the keys to the school newspaper office thrown at him.
Before long, he was being told by his journalism professor that the Rutland Herald was looking for a part-time reporter with “half a clue.”
As a commuter, his life then became chaotic.
All of the sudden, he was a full-time commuter student, part-time reporter, high school debate coach and was selling skis at Killington for 20 hours a week. He said he essentially lived out of his car and ate a lot of McDonalds.
Asked by students about his major accomplishments, Dritschilo said he won the 2002 Vermont Press Association’s Rookie Reporter of the Year award. But, he stressed that awards are not his motivating factor.
“I’m a lot more proud of the stories I wrote for that award, rather than the award itself,” he said.
Dritschilo said he felt his best story was one about a kid from Wells who shot and killed his mother with a shotgun and came into Rutland and shot another person in the back. He also talked about reporting stories about two soldiers from his tiny hometown who were killed in Iraq.
He said his personal connection with the town enabled him to get people to open up about the deaths.
Dritschilo also talked about life at Castleton, saying the college taught him the basics of reporting and writing stories, but he said “you learn more on the job than in journalism classes.”
He also said he wishes he took more classes unrelated to journalism, like criminal justice and education, to better understand crime- and school-related stories.
Although Dritschilo said he loves his job, the pay is low and the hours are unpredictable.
“Things catch fire at the most inconvenient times,” he said. “And if you have a date with your girlfriend, some idiot from New York WILL get lost on Killington.”
Even with low pay and random hours, Dritschilo said he enjoys where he’s at.
“There are worse things than not making a lot of money,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind writing for a larger paper, living in a larger town, but I could be happy staying at the Herald.