If someone had told me I would be where I am, loving journalism and all the stories I am working on, a couple years ago, I would have laughed. Then asked them to provide some facts to back up that crazy claim.
The life of a journalism major…
… is one filled with constant storytelling, deep listening, shocking spontaneity, glaring computer screens, racing fingertips, flying feet and constant excitement. It’s constantly checking the news, asking questions and running to interviews. Writing 500 words in a half hour and then spending the other half laughing about the latest trends with a room full of staffers. Driving to professional conferences and typing up papers for a class between lectures. It’s beautiful chaos. Every story has its own winding path. Every day is different. It the purest form of chaotic routine.
I decided to try to collect just a few mini moments from my time so far of being a journalism student. Be it good, bad or anything in between that fits into the puzzle that is my college experience.
“Hi, my name is Sarah Horne and I’m a reporter for The New Political”
My roommate calls it my “customer service voice”, despite the fact that I have never been on the receiving end of that kind of frantic phone call. Nonetheless, the words come out as a fluid blend of routine and excitement. For, although I have said that line more times than I can count, they continue to be laced with eager anticipation.
As the conversation continues, I find myself stepping into routine (literally). As I pace around my room, recorder on, my feet seem to beat to the rhythm of her words. It beats, question after question until I say my thanks and hit end call.
“Hi Sarah … I’m calling you back about the interview”
The world turns upside down as I jump out of bed and for a split second rush down a slip-in-slide. Except the slip was me jumping onto the floor and the slide was my socks skidding across the hardwood tiled floor.
As I introduce myself I feel a rush of relief that my mind has not caught up with my hands. For as my hello comes out calm, my fingers quickly snatch my laptop from the counter. Frantically, I open it as the screen lights up the room and my fingertips slam the keys as her words flow. The moment her story enters my ears the rest of the world is lost.
“I feel like I’m in a circus and I just jumped through multiple hoops on fire”
The words come flying out of my mouth, phone pressed to my ear, as I try to get a grip on the afternoon I just survived. Was it really only three hours ago that my story’s heart stopped? That I walked up to the first of what would be too many offices of people who would tell me the interview I had planned was no longer possible. That everyone on this “board” was suddenly out of the office. Did I really just get a full leg workout in from running around trying to talk to someone credible?
It had been a miserable, heart-pounding, adrenaline high.
And yet, the story’s heart fought through the tragedy, and the blood began to flow once again. An unexpected interview was made. Quotes were recorded. Words were typed.
After hours of wandering around lost in a familiar place, I hit submit and took a deep breath as I realized they will never know. Because, to those who will read it, it is just another story.
“Your photo is going to be on the front cover”
The world stopped (well maybe just my world). Nonetheless, the earth stopped spinning, the clouds stopped gliding and time stopped ticking. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop the smile that spread across my face. I was being published as a paid writer and photographer. It was a moment of peace. A moment of joy. A moment of bliss.
As I held the printed issue in my hands, my heart was stolen. It was too late, I had already fallen for journalism.
“There are so many crimes”
I say for the hundredth time. “So many crimes.” How many crimes can one city have? I flip through the stack of paper with about 20 different writing utensils at my disposal and a mountain of papers spread across the table in front of me. The black and white pages become filled with colorful highlighter streaks as my computer blast Taylor Swift’s “Getaway Car”.
Well, they didn’t get away with the crime this time, but I got away with carefully crafting a visual infographic.
As I finish the design, close my computer screen, and walk home long after night had turned to day, I felt a small smile settle in on my face.
Tomorrow, I get to be a journalist all over again.