It’s actually hard for me to picture working in a newsroom without her because Moy and I have reported side by side for so long.
We got hired around the same time seven or so years ago at the Great Falls Tribune. You’ve heard of the Sip ‘n Dip in Great Falls? The mermaid bar with Piano Pat?
The wall behind this tiki bar is actually the clear side of a swimming pool on the motel rooftop. On some evenings, people dressed in mermaid and sometimes mermen costumes swim around to entertain customers.
Well, Chelsi, who doesn’t really like to swim under water, put on a mermaid outfit and wrote a first person account of what it was like to paddle about in a tank and entertain folks. Her story won an award!
Fast forward a couple years, and we’re both at the Missoulian. We still sit next to each other, so on many mornings, I’ll roll my chair up to her desk and we’ll talk about stories we’re working on. Sometimes, when a nasty lede is bogging me down, I’ll ask Chelsi to straighten it out, and she does.
These days, Moy has been kicking out fantastic work on the University of Montana’s now-on-the-back-burner plan to build a biomass plant.
A couple years ago, she got a really cool FIRST PLACE award from the NATIONAL Awards for Education Reporting sponsored by Education Writers Association. Here’s the story that nabbed her top place in the country. Yay Chelsi!
Awards aside, though, you know how work places have these, um, little quirks? Things that maybe aren’t a huge deal but still make you want to tear out your hair?
Well, I can get pretty wound up about those things sometimes, and occasionally, even hold a teeny, tiny, temporary little grudge.
But it doesn’t last long.
Why? Because I remind myself to take a page from Chelsi’s “good attitude” playbook. She sees all these little quirks, too, but she doesn’t let them make her irritable.
She remains completely and totally optimistic and wonderful as a colleague, and she puts those quirks in proper perspective.
I can say to her: “Grouch, grouch, grouch, grouch, grouch!”
Moy, who has the most generous spirit, says: “Brightness! Light! Cheer!”
That’s her with her headset on in the picture. See what I mean?
— Keila Szpaller