We sat down with the Managing Editor of the Berks Collegian to discuss the his work with the newspaper, his music, and the people who inspire him.
Although Berks senior Jamie Brackman’s college career will end next semester, the impact he has had on this campus will be lasting. As Managing Editor of the Berks Collegian, he has helped expand the newspaper, which means growth for the Professional Writing degree program as well as the campus as a whole. Though he is a Professional Writing major, he doesn’t need the editor position in order to complete his degree requirements. He tells us, “It’s more than that. I’d like to see the major expand and I think the paper can be part of that.”
He sees the Collegian as an opportunity for students to publish their own work and to encourage more writing on campus as a whole. As Managing Editor, he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of publishing the Collegian, including assigning stories, mentoring writers, and filling section editor positions. He is also focused on improving the quality of the newspaper, increasing readership, and developing placement strategies.
Even with all the hard work that goes into producing the Collegian, it is still prone to its share of criticism. Last semester, a cover story headline that read, “Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Catch on with Berks Students,” brought complaints from readers and accusations of bias. However, this was an isolated incident and Jamie ensures us that the Collegian holds no agenda or bias. Overall the Collegian is received to positive reviews and Jamie is looking forward to its expansion in 2012, including the addition of an online version.
His plans after graduation? AmeriCorps, which, he tells us, is similar to the Peace Corps, except in the United States. He had considered joining the Peace Corps, but notes that, “More and more people need help here rather than overseas. Past generations (outside of he U.S.) needed more help than us because we were so successful. Not anymore.” He is looking forward to the opportunity to help those in need. Before that, he’ll devote one more semester to the Collegian as Managing Editor.
Although Jamie enjoys his work with the Collegian and as a Professional Writing major, his true passion lies elsewhere: music. Jamie taught himself to play guitar at a young age and started writing music shortly after. His recently formed band, The Hunger Cave, hopes to record a demo soon and start playing shows this summer. During our interview he played a few songs for us; his talent is thoroughly impressive and even more so, the fact that he is 100% self-taught!
Just as Jamie’s music is sure to inspire others, two great musicians inspire him: Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. He admires how both have interwoven their music with their lives, telling us, “You can see (in their music) the progress they make as a person and tell it is authentic. I aspire to be myself the way they were themselves. To be authentic in that same way and not to be concerned about expectations.”
Though Jamie was apt to talk about how these men inspire him, he grew quiet when we asked if he has any advice to offer others. After a moment of reflection, he replied, “You know I could say ‘do what you love and don’t let anything stop you.’ But what’s the point of that if you don’t know it already?” With his refusal to offer advice, he gave us just what we were looking for. His message is clear: be passionate. With that, he picks up his guitar and sings, “Heaven is a place that’s in your heart…” <3