This semester, I really got to see what it’s like to be a professional journalist. I thought I already knew! I mean I’ve been in this field for 5 years now, but it is a lot harder than I thought. I’ve been on the side of school, studying the journalism way. Correct AP style, correct format, perfect interviews and learning the proper note taking skills… but on the other side of the fence is the real journalist, and that’s who I feel like.
My class of four students and I were given the opportunity to write the WMU edition of Encore Magazine. On the first day of class, I knew I was walking into a bundle of stress. I sat down in those prison computer rooms in the basement of Brown Hall. I had my game face on. Although I know and love the other students in my class, my focus is on making an impression. Luckily, with only five people in the class, I’m making an impression already.
Once my insides started to calm down, and the excitement and nerves of writing for a professional publication has finally relaxed. I need to think of some story ideas.
I always thought I was horrible at finding story ideas. Normally in journalism classes we are forced to write about a made up car accident or a fake court case. We learn the correct AP style, correct format, perfect interviews and proper note taking skills… but not this time. We have a chance to come up with our own ideas for a PRINTED PUBLICATION. Cool huh?
My brain was on full tilt. I was extra observant walking on campus and throughout Kalamazoo. My mind was on story mode.
I did it. Facebook is key. I found two story ideas! Now, reporting is about to begin.
Here we go. I am on the phone constantly and if I’m not, I’m sending emails to possible sources. Nothing is going to stop me. If someone isn’t answering, I stay calm. I choose to send out a follow-up email or a phone call. “I will get this interview,” I say to myself. Sure enough, I did it.
I managed to interview six people for two stories in four weeks. Did you get that? I was persistent. I had to stay on top of my schoolwork for other classes, prioritize, and continue working afternoons at a part time job. Early mornings and late nights are done.
Ha! Yeah right.
I felt like I looked at my stories 500 times already, but the editor is receiving only her first draft. The stress may have settled for a few days, but it is not over. Once I get those edits back, it is back to the phone calls, the emails, the early mornings and long nights. Lets do this thing.
Stay tuned to the May, WMU edition of Encore Magazine.
Issues of Encore are available in the Miller Auditorium at the back of main campus. Grab a copy and support WMU journalism.