I headed to my desk and did my usual morning ritual: skim through the day’s daily, check and reply to emails and grab a cup of hot coffee.
I then headed to consult the business editor to discuss my assignment for the day. Julie Tatge, the business editor, had told me a day before that she would send me to cover an industry event called Beverage Forum.
I was to be accompanied by Jessica Wohl, a Tribune reporter under whose beat matters such as food and beverages fell. Tatge singled out a particular session, happening in the afternoon, which we were to cover.
After having a quick lunch, I rushed to the hotel where the forum was taking place. I entered the conference room about five minutes before the beginning of the interview session with a Chicago-based beer executive.
The session started on time. I pulled out my notebook and began taking notes, paying special attention to what I thought would make a story. Consumer trends in the beer market, new products, forecasts and outlook were some of the points I was looking out for.
And Bill Hackett, president of Constellation Brands Beer Division, did not disappoint. He talked about the drinking promiscuity of young consumers who try out multiple brands and drinks, the growth of the craft beer industry and the growing demand for on-the-go drinks in cans.
Immediately after Hackett was finished, we headed back to the office and debriefed the editor. It was about 4 p.m. Jessica had recorded the entire session and this proved very useful in getting accurate quotes.
I wrote the story and shared it with Jessica for peer review. She guided me in revising and correcting some facts in the story, before handing it over back to me. I then made the necessary corrections and forwarded it to the editor.
In line with Chicago Tribune’s ‘online first’ strategy, the story was uploaded on the website that very evening.
Come Thursday, I opened the paper to find my byline below the headline: “Constellation’s beer chief gives credit to craft brews.”
I was excited, and in my heart, I quietly raised a toast: may there be more to come!