It’s a rainy night in Boulder and the world couldn’t be more beautiful right at this moment.
I guess it’s a good time for me to take a step back and give a little more context to you (my audience) about what I do when I say I’m journalist. Or at least one that’s in training.
I’m well into my third week of school as a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder and I feel like time is moving too fast for me, especially since I’m scheduled to graduate this December. I’m scrambling to get everything together, from classes to internships to graduation forms. So yes, I am a 20-something-year-old news-editorial senior that’s not at all ready to face the real world.
For credit this semester however, I’ve gotten an internship with a local weekly newspaper in town called the Boulder Weekly. I guess this is the extent of my journalism “career” right now. For the most part, I love my job. I’ve always loved what I do, especially since with this internship, I get to write so much more than my previous one with a magazine company. Also, my editors are often times so helpful and absolutely hilarious. But if I were to pick the best part about working with them? It’s the free coffee and bagels. Lifesavers.
I’ve been writing ever since I could remember. But I’ve only started actually getting into the reporting gig about a year and a half ago. I started out with the campus newspaper and then branched my way out from there, occasionally switching it up and dabbling in social media. So although writing comes like second nature to me, reporting, as I’ve learned, is another skill that I need polished.
This week’s journalistic challenge? Cheerleading.
My news assignment for the week was to write a cuisine story for the paper. Jeff, my editor, assigned me the topic of nose to tail dining. Nose to tail is an interesting dining experience where guests are basically served the entire animal. Insides and everything.
…I know right.
Surprisingly though, as I did my research and talked to my sources, a lot of people actually like having it. It promotes sustainability, prevents wastage, and is often really tasty since the meat is carefully prepared, seasoned and paired with some type of alcoholic beverage.
I turned in my article, confident that with the work I had produced and only hoping for the best. Within an hour of turning it in, my editor sent it back to me with feedback. You know, I’m gonna be honest, it’s always been a little hard for me to read what professors, lecturers and editors call “constructive criticism”. I’ve gotten better with it since I first started but there’s always a flutter of nervousness and I almost always hold my breath while reading the edited version, complete with red comments in the margins, until I’ve reached the very end.
Cheerleading in journalism is what puffery would be in advertising. O.K. maybe not as skewed but you get the idea. In the feedback, my editor had noted that I’d included too much cheerleading in my article, which basically meant that I’d included too much promoting or supporting of a certain point of view.
First reaction was denial. Of course not. I was absolutely objective and tried including a variety of sources. But then I read his feedback again. And again and tried to process it fully and I got to see his point. Then, I didn’t feel as offended or disturbed by it. I was actually really grateful to have that pointed out to me because now I know that there’s a fine line between describing something and promoting something.
At this point in my life and education, I count it extremely important that I have mentors all around me for reasons just like this one. So, thanks Steve!
Despite making attempts to reconcile today, my efforts were answered by silence.
I don’t know which hurts more, being yelled at, or not being yelled at all.
At this point, I’m feeling it. Maybe half from the guilt that’s come over me, and the other from a little betrayal I’ve felt all this while. Maybe I’m asking for too much from one person. Maybe that’s been my problem all along. I expect the universe out of a person because I know I would give the universe to another person.
I’ve got to stop assuming that everyone is just like me.
Maybe it’s just another person in life you’ve gotta take the chance to say goodbye to, despite the hurt.
Today was the first time I got the chance to be professionally photographed. Albeit it being a little laid back, there was still me in front of a camera and with a room full of strangers. I tried really hard to stay composed but I can’t keep my hands from being clammy and my knees from shaking.
I ended up giggling throughout all 50 takes. Or what seemed like 50 takes.
I’ve figured that I’m better behind a screen or a notepad.
Tomorrow’s my first deadline and I’m scrambling to put my piece together. I guess this little panic that takes over me is one of the reason why I love doing what I do. Or when you come across a great quote from a source and your heart races a little, your stomach flutters.
And then finally the huge relief when I turn my assignment in.
So. Worth. It.
Do journalists ever have friends?
If we’re like doctors, and we’re constantly “on-call” because let’s face it, news never sleeps either, then do we even have the time to have friends?
Does it matter if we do?
I recently had a falling out with a person that I’d considered to be one of my really good friends, especially coming here without knowing anyone. To be honest with you, I don’t really understand the fight. Whether it was more about me, or about her. Or me being angry at myself and then lashing it out on her. Regardless, things are pretty much different now. We went from having sleepovers together to being in the same room without saying a word to each other.
Through it all, I find myself restless at the thought of our broken friendship, but at the same time, incredibly overwhelmed by my hectic work schedule that I can’t seem to even be bothered to try and fix it.
Can I even afford to have friends if this is my take on things? Or am I just better off alone, and busy with my own life and the extent of conversations I’ll have is with my editors and sources.
Maybe that way I wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone either, right?
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the HBO series, Newsroom.
Maybe it’s due to context or relevance or just my kind of humor injected into almost every scene, with witty wordplays and remarks being tossed around the newsroom. Uncensored banter between one character and the other making my heart race and occasionally, yelling at my own computer screen from sheer adrenaline.
I’m almost done with the series and I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to spend my sleepless nights, living vicariously through the cast and wishing I was a part of something so great as putting the news out.
I’m not sure if it’s my thorough obsession with the brilliantly scripted series or my passion for my field that I find myself mulling over deep questions after each episode. Was that the intent of the producer? Surely, some journalism class somewhere will undertake the task of assigning the series to students? I mean, they’ve done with Harry Potter books. Why not this thrilling series too then?
In the latest episode, I find myself watching Will McAvoy (the lead character and main news anchor of News Night) going head to head with his executive producer, Mackenzie MacHale.
Situation is that their show have been losing viewers because Mackenzie’s refusal to cover the Casey Anthony trial, that obviously has garnered so much hype and publicity, because she doesn’t think it’s news. Will is apprehensive but has to do so in order to get his viewers back, or fear losing his job at the corporation. So throughout the entire episode, I find myself in thinking about a solution, as if I wanted to help both Will and Mackenzie.
And so on Labor day, my computer is awkwardly rested on my lap as I sit on my bean bag in the living room, thinking to myself how does one determine what exactly news is? Is there really a black and white answer to this question? As an aspiring journalist, I’ve been taught in classrooms, through lectures, guest speakers, professors that we’re here to serve the people and provide information in order for them to make well-informed choices and decisions, and I strongly believe in that.
But does our society even want that anymore when the lives of celebrities are considered news. E! news is a real thing anyway. I’m confused when I turn on the TV and news about a sorority spilling yogurt on the President’s pants makes the first 10 minutes of the program instead of his actual address to the crowd.
My mind is racing, as I’m taking on my last semester in college and trying to find my place in this world.
Am I going to be a Will McAvoy? Or a Don Keefer?