My Year Writing for a Newspaper

My Year Writing for a Newspaper

Sofi Zeman, Editor-In-Chief

Senior year has finally begun. A year from now, many in the class of 2019 will be moving on to begin a life of their own. To some, this means picking up a new job, entering the military or even embarking on  another round of senior year. To others, it means college. Regardless of where we plan to go, a point is going to come in the near future that we are going to enter the workforce and take care of ourselves.

 

In 365 days, I plan to begin my freshman year at a university (that has not been formally decided on) to study journalism. Deciding on a major is pretty important. It is during this time that you receive the education for the field of work that you plan to go into. While not everyone uses their degree to get the job they finally land on, the numbers are definitely on the rise. In this generation, it has increasingly become more difficult to land a stable, skill – related job without the papers to show for. So yes, having a degree makes the process to go a little smoother. But, more often than not, majors change. In the 2011 – 2012 school year, 33% of college students pursuing a  bachelor’s degree switched their major, according to Inside Higher Ed.  

 

I get it. We are young. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they are in their late teens or early twenties. I definitely think that it is more than okay to change your mind a few times and take the time you need to figure out what you want to do and who you want to be. I simply did – and do – not want to do it too late. College is expensive. I don’t want to have to do a few extra years of school and pay for it. So, I wanted to be sure that journalism is what I actually want. At schools like the University of Missouri, journalism is one of the most competitive programs. I just wanted to be positive that all of the hard work I put into being a reporter would not go to waste in the real world. To find out if this was really what I wanted, I started working for a real newspaper in October of my junior year.

 

In the first few weeks writing for the Boone County Journal, I fell in love with a business that I had only ever really seen from the outside. I would write a few stories on a weekly basis and help where I was needed before the paper went into circulation on Friday mornings. A few times a week, I met with the publication’s editor and just talked. We discussed local issues and beyond,  assessed the future and argued over social sciences and humanities alike. For hours on end, I would be challenged intellectually on topics I knew nothing about, drowning for most of the conversation until I eventually gained some slim grasp on the day’s discussion. It was from this that I learned that there is so much more to this job than just an open document and a solid understanding of the English language.

 

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t stressful at times. Word count for stories was about three hundred longer than the Northview guidelines and many of the stories I wrote about were on topics I had never even heard of before they were assigned to me on Monday afternoons. The Journal is a large circulating paper that is distributed across the county but did not have many reporters writing for it. Some difficulties came out of having to produce multiple stories in one week when I had become so used to only writing one per week at the high school.

 

In the summertime, my best friend and co- editor, Burke, decided to join me in working at The Journal. This made the entire experience so much more fun because I was able to enjoy doing something I love with my friend. I did not mind the drop in workload so much either. We spent our summer doing various interviews, running around town and meeting hundreds of different people.

 

My year at the Boone County Journal meant a variety of things to me. In the end, I realized that journalism is the career I want to pursue. I learned multiple formatting and writing techniques. And, I had fun with one of my best friends.