You are reading my last article for The Reporter. At the top of the year, I’ll be relocating to central New Hampshire, so I can complete an internship I need to graduate in May. As a sign-off, I decided to leave all of you loyal Reporter readers with four ways that writing for my college paper has benefitted me. That way, in case you’re waffling about becoming a writer next spring, maybe I can push you over the edge and help you make a decision.
1.Reporting got me involved
Right after I began writing for the paper in October of 2015, I really began paying attention to events on campus. The pressure to submit two articles per week sometimes sent me scrambling for an event to cover on campus that I would not have attended otherwise. For instance, who knew that Quidditch was so much fun? I wouldn’t have tried it unless I had to write an article about it.
2. Reporting is an excuse to talk to people
These days, it’s a little odd to start asking strangers deep and personal questions about their hobbies or way of life. However, if I prefaced any conversation with, “I write for The Reporter and I’m wondering if I can interview you…” I usually received license to ask anything I wanted! Through interviews, I got to know lots of people and clubs on campus with interesting opinions and unusual lives. One of my favorite interviews happened with the Democrat club during a giant snowstorm that shut down campus. The spirited discussion that happened between members was worth my perilous drive home.
3. Reporting gave me a platform for my passions
The college paper gives writers a lot of freedom in choosing their subjects and different “beats.” My best articles were about my chosen field – campus recreation, in which I covered the rock climbing competitions, recreation themed clubs, and Maverick Adventures, the outline for a new branch of the Adventure Education Program. College is a place that is full of different outlets for creativity, and I got to choose the ones I was most interested in to write about. If you start writing for the paper, consider your personal passions and ask how you can spread those farther across campus and connect with those who share your interests.
4. Reporting helped me learn to meet deadlines
As a fiction writer before college, I enjoyed taking my time, and often getting distracted with character mapping or worldbuilding. When I entered the journalism world, I had to learn how to write tight, clean copy on a deadline. The Reporter’s deadlines are 2 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, with some leeway for people with afternoon classes. The hardest deadline to meet is Wednesday, since there’s only one day in between articles to gather information and write the whole article, as well as juggling classes and work. Too often, my Wednesday article read like the skeleton of a house rather than a complete building, because I couldn’t take the time to flesh it out and edit multiple times. However, through trial and error, I learned that I can write on a deadline when I need to do so, which is a valuable confidence to have as I enter the working world.
I’m leaving The Reporter, but I plan to take the new confidence I have in my journalism to new places and publications. There are interesting faces and lifestyles all over the world, and I have a lofty ambition to write about all of them. No matter what your major is, consider writing for the college paper, because if you commit yourself to the job, the experience is enriching. And no, they did not pay me extra to write that.