When did you know that you wanted to be a reporter? Were you the kid interviewing your family at the Thanksgiving table, asking your family what they’ve been up to lately?
I was that kid!
I knew I wanted to be a reporter when I was in elementary school and had the opportunity to give the morning announcements …I think the lunch menu was my favorite!
When I attended North Harford High School, I wrote for the Cry of the Hawk and and anchored and produced for The Hawks Nest. When I graduated and moved to Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland, I held several different positions with Owl Magazine which won several awards at the College Media Association in NYC.
When I transferred to Towson University (just north of Baltimore), I immediately got in touch with The Towerlight newspaper and WMJF-TV.
It would be hard for me to imagine going to school that was without some sort of student-media publication. It’s difficult for me to think that there are some schools that, because of lack of funding, are on the verge of decreasing the funding of such publications. In worst-case scenarios, they sometimes are thrown away altogether.
In reality, there are student-produced publications that are funded by schools that will eventually be cut from the budget. Administrators don’t see them as a necessary part of the community.
But they’re wrong.
Campus-based, student-produced publications are extremely important at the collegiate level and especially for young, reporters-in-training, like you and I. I knew that when I joined the staff at Towerlight, I would be networking and gaining a valuable hands-on experience while building my portfolio.
Some might think that a campus newspaper is too critical in its reporting…that is, admin doesn’t want you reporting on certain things that they don’t want to see? But if they prevented us from reporting, wouldn’t they be putting up a barrier to our success, something they should be advocating?
Writing and reporting for a campus publication gives us the ability to develop our story telling skills so we can go out in to the world and become the next generation of news reporters.
My advice to you would be “get out there.” If this is the field you want to get into, you need to start as soon as possible. By joining a campus publication staff, you’ll be able to start and in no time, you’ll have plenty of writing samples and a superior resume to hand to a news director.
Go to your student press editors and ask them what you can do get involved. If you’re writing skills aren’t too strong, they’ll be happy to add you as a copy editor. You might find that you have strengths as a photographer. (If you’re a writer, you should also be looking into photography to broaden your horizons.)
Our administrators think journalism is a dying art, therefore it needs to be cut. Get out there and prove them wrong!