Student Journalism by an Aspiring Student

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author: ethan butterfield | a&c  editor

Journalism, better than a hall of mirrors / jeremy davis

My hell is people’s future.

I don’t know about you fellow students, but each morning, I’m waking up, looking out my window, and wondering what the day is going to bring.  Then I promptly go back to bed and continue staring at the ceiling because sleep is for the weak. Honestly though, I do love waking up and being able to do something productive with my day. This usually applies to doing some writing, then doing some editing, then doing more writing, then maybe making coffee, and then continuing to write and edit and write and edit and write and edit and… uhhh, yeah, you get the point.
Long story short, if you’re heading into journalism, than be prepared to write your lights out (I mean that goes along with basically any department, so you know what I’m on about). There’s a certain air in regard to making sure that what you’re doing, or what you’re writing, is up to snuff for trying to reach the main goal in the end. Maybe that’s just me talking, but I’m also someone who is never satisfied with the work he’s done ever, so there’s that to take into account.  

That being said, though, I’ll be frank with you (whoever you are reading this) when I started my journey toward a degree in this department, I was actually pretty motivated to do my best and to make sure I was putting my best foot forward. Move forward a couple of years, however, and we go from sunshine and rainbows to “What am I doing?! What am I doing?! What am I doing?!” Again, I feel that sums up every department, not just the one I’m talking about here. 

Now, if you’re like me and want to pursue a career in the written arts, (again, whoever you are) the best thing to do in regard to making sure your writing is up to snuff for what you need in terms of grades is the old tried and true advice of “practice makes perfect.” I know this isn’t what a lot of people want to hear, but it is so, so true. This is something I’ve had to recommend to many friends of mine (a whole two, that’s what many means right?) Still though, it’s a solid piece of advice that’s going to work as long as you work with it. Don’t slack off in that department, or your department (especially journalism) isn’t going to cut you any slack. 

With that foreboding piece of dialogue out of the way, let’s get into the real meat and potatoes of heading into both journalism and, inevitably, student journalism. All in all, it’s a fucking nightmare…for the aspiring journalists in question, that is. For the thing or individual that is being covered, it’s a wonderful way to get some press and coverage, and for the viewers, it’s a great way to know what the goings on are in their community, for the person doing the story. However, it’s long hours and dry eyes. Once you get into the groove of things though, that’s when you know you’re doing what you love. Yes, despite all the painstaking hours that you’re going to feel you’ve wasted in regard to putting your story together, it’s going to feel like the world to you when all is said and done. Trust me. 

Back onto significantly happier topics though, while throwing a story together or writing a piece may seem quite daunting at first, getting into the swing of things is fairly easy. Once you’ve found your subject and you know how you want things to progress, you’ll have things ready to go in no time at all (I’m assuming anyway). 

The last thing I’d like to bring attention to when discussing the life and times of an aspiring journalist is this: make sure to have fun. This is something I wish I had been told when I started going after this dream. I really mean it, regardless of what you want to do, or what department your in, it’s always important to manage out how much stress it’s going to give you. Pay is important, of course, but what good is the pay when you’re dead at 30 (not that you actually will be).  Just, do yourself a favour. Take a minute, breath, and relax.  

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