As I’ve noted before, the Wildcat news desk is pretty small these days!
My fellow reporter Jazmine Woodberry put it nicely in her recent blog post:
We have three new reporters on staff– which I am thrilled about. Like my colleague Laura E. Donovan has stated on her blog, the ADW news desk this semester was surely akin to the most dramatic of Survivor seasons. People dropping left and right. But the tried and true remained — and they all are bang-up reporters. Luke Money, Alexandra Newman, Bethany Barners, the aforementioned Laura E. Donovan, our amazing assistant news editor (who has been linked twice to Huffington Post College) Matthew A. Lewis, our news editor Michelle A. Monroe and myself have mustered up a fine paper, despite its faults. Our three new editions should be an interesting mix into the system, the more the merrier (and a little bit less stress for me heading into finals time which is never a bad thing). However, I do like some of the last things I have published. I can tell just by reading through my own work how much I have grown this semester as a writer.
The news desk has lost multiple reporters this semester, some of which showed true promise as well as a passion for writing. It was a shame to see certain individuals go, but I’m beyond proud of those who have remained on staff.
Why have so many people decided to quit the news desk? There’s no sure answer to that. The news desk generally has a pretty high turnover rate, mostly because students get bogged down with school and reporting responsibilities. I understand that some may feel overwhelmed, but what is life if it’s not exciting and exhausting?
My guess is that most of the reporters who left were not ready to take on the commitment to the paper. Our news editor suggested we write four or more stories a week, and for some students, that’s quite a large number. In truth, I think it’s better to write more. The more you do, the better writer you’ll become, and the more money you’ll make (but that’s of no importance to us. We didn’t get into this profession for the money:) ).
But yeah, I’ll venture to say that some of the people just couldn’t handle what was expected of them. I can imagine it must be hard to juggle a full academic load and a reporting job. As I said before, life is hectic. Why have it any other way? If you’re not tired, you’re not really living.
I must say, I was initially really unsure of my place on the news desk. At the beginning of the semester, I decided that I didn’t want to write opinion pieces anymore if I couldn’t be the editor, so I joined the news team. I loved reporting and researching stories, so journalism wasn’t exactly foreign to me, but I’ll admit that I was hesitant at first to dabble into news. I wasn’t sure I’d be good at it, and I must say, I’ve surprised myself!
It must be said that I’m shocked at how much I love my colleagues! I assumed that I wouldn’t really interact with any of them since we all work at different times, but we managed to chat at the meetings and seminars, and everyone is really cool. Jazmine, Misha, Luke, Bethany, and Matt have really made the news desk experience a phenomenal one. I only wish we could all see more of each other, but school and work keeps us on our toes!
There’s a lot I still need to learn, but I’ve learned so much about myself and reporting during my two months on the Wildcat news team. I’ve learned to embrace my curiosity, and I find myself constantly asking more questions. When I first started out as a reporter, I wasn’t asking my interviewees the kinds of questions that readers really like to know the answers to, and I’d like to think that I’ve ditched that habit.
Regardless, I’ve figured out that in reporting, you can never ask enough questions. You will always walk out of an interview kicking yourself for not asking something that seems so obviously relevant and crucial to the story. In that case, you call the source and beg for an extra few minutes, but if they’re unavailable, you’ve learned a lesson.
So yeah, I am proud of myself for being such a prolific and challenged writer this semester. I inevitably fell back into opinions, of course, because I have thoughts on pretty much everything, but news is so much more thrilling.
It’s because of this job that I truly want to pursue a job in journalism/news writing. I want to be in a fast paced, overworked environment. I do my best work in that kind of place. So I plan on making it happen, but I know that I still have so much more to learn.
In conclusion: It’s spectacular to accidentally fall into yet another calling!