Why I Chose Journalism

Think back to high school, right before you went off to college. Remember that time? Everyone was asking where you were going and what you wanted to do with your life. Those never-ending questions seemed daunting for most of my friends; but for me, they were easy to answer. I knew what I wanted to do. I had known for a while, actually.

Hello, my name is Sara, and I want to be a journalist.

With that goal in mind, journalism was the obvious major. My instincts were right. I flourished in college. I had several internships in my desired field and joined my college newspaper, working my way up from staff writer to editor-in-chief.

But…why did I want to be a journalist? To most people who knew me growing up, it seemed an odd choice. Of course, I loved to write and had a knack for words. But grammar was never my strong suit (a great trait for an aspiring journalist), and I was naturally shy. So what the hell made me want to talk to complete strangers and pen their stories in proper sentences?

For one, I love words. I love playing with them. I love how I can take them apart and move them around to craft the perfect image of what I am trying to portray.  Some girls use clothing and accessories to show off their feelings; I do it with words. I loved reading as a child, and soon, that love of stories led me to write my own stories — at first fiction, but I wanted to find out the truth. I firmly believe everyone has a story to tell, and I want to be the one to tell it. The truth is far juicier than fiction anyways.

Also, I’m naturally attracted to things that scare me. So when I had to do “man on the street” reporting for the first time ever at my internship, I freaked out. I couldn’t possibly go up to random strangers and ask them questions. But I did. At first, it was horrible. However, the more I did it, the better it became. Now I go up to strangers all the time for work without even blinking. Journalism made me more outgoing — and I found out that I’m quite charming and funny when I need to be.

Finally, I believe in journalism in its truest form: It’s supposed to educate people. It’s supposed to let them know what’s happening, both around them and far away. It’s supposed to be “just the facts,” allowing readers to form their own opinions. Of course, our society has drifted away from that, but I do believe it is still alive in some cases. And I want to be a part of it. It’s my way of giving back.

That’s why I choose to be a journalism major. It worked out for me, too. Not even a year out of college, I’m working for a daily newspaper as a reporter.

Hello, my name is Sara and I am a journalist.

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Sara Brown I'm a recent college grad, ready to take over the world with my words. When I am not worried about deadlines, I like beer, cheese and concerts.

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8 Responses to “Why I Chose Journalism”

  1. chase

    Hello Sara. I myself am considering a journalism route in my education. I like writing stories, and I do so love the truth. However, I am still quite young, and the idea of having to write for a newspaper every single day seems a bit… annoying. I mean, I’m sure it has its ups and downs, but I can’t help but wonder. If you don’t mind me asking, what are your thoughts on that? Does it ever get frustrating?

    Reply
    • Angela Stefano

      Chase –

      I’m not Sara, but as a fellow journalism major who chose it for pretty much the same reasons Sara did, maybe I can respond.

      What part of writing for a newspaper seems annoying — Is it the fact that it’s a newspaper? Consider a magazine or an online news source (like us!) That you’d probably start out writing the police blotter or reporting on crime stories? No matter where you start, you’re going to have to work your way up.

      Just like any job, even when you’re doing something you love like writing, you’re going to have good days and bad days (like you said). For example, I’ve spent the entire week editing our Book Week stories, and right now, the last thing I want to do is proofread another sentence. But in a day or two, I’m going to want to jump right back into it. I think that’s the way you know you’ve picked the right career — even though you enjoy a day off here and there, you’re antsy to pick it up again.

      Reply
      • chase

        Thanks Angela, that was helpful! I imagine the annoying part of working for a newspaper is the every day part of it. Do you even get any days off? But at any rate, I appreciate your nresponse and the information it gave me

        Reply
        • Angela Stefano

          As someone who has never actually worked at a newspaper (*hangs head in shame* — but seriously, I’m only two years out of college and have been more interested in magazine and feature writing), I can’t speak from experience, but I assure you that those I do know who work at newspaper do get days off. You may have an odd schedule (I know a guy who was working the night shift, then a mix of days and nights, for a while), and your schedule may go out the window in times of breaking news, but certainly no one expects you to work day in and day out without any sort of time off.

          Plus, if you’re worried, a lot of papers are doing that furlough thing…so that’s one way to get some time away. (That was a really bad joke.)

          Reply
  2. Angela Diaco

    Hello Chase!

    Also not Sara, but coming from a non-journalism major, taking this job as a writer/editor has got me hooked!

    This is not the type of career where you’re plugging away day after day feeling like you’re just another cog in the wheel. Contrary to what you may think, there’s nothing ‘routine’ about writing on a weekly/daily basis. Every week and every story is a new start–especially if you’re given the freedom to explore topics you’re interested in.

    I’m no expert, but maybe try writing on your own (do you have a blog?) or take on writing for an online org to feel things out. Good luck!

    Reply
    • chase

      Your reply has got me realizing some things. Last year, in my english 101 class, I was writing almost every day. And it wasn’t actually routine at all. I enjoyed it even when I thought I didn’t.
      Also, I do have a blog. It’s a personal writing blog, but I do comment on things outside of me on occasion. I started the blog because I love writing; however, I often lack sources of inspiration, or things to write about, because I’m on my own. What I really want to do is get out and find things to write about. Which is why I’m considering a career where I get to write about different things.
      Thank you so much for your help!

      Reply
  3. Sara Brown

    Chase,

    This is Sara. Sure there are times when being a journalist isn’t great. However, those moments have nothing to do with routine. Everyday is different for me which is one reason I love by job. I meet new people everyday and write about different things everyday. For me I get frustrated when people don’t return my phone calls or when the long hours get to me. However, for me the pros outweigh the cons. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  4. Leanna

    I found this to be informative, but I have to make the argument for print journalism and newspapers vs. the reality of journalism today. After all, this website is about the next great generation, and as a journalism major myself (I attended school out West), I really don’t think the smart route is at places like daily newspapers.

    The essence of why people love journalism is apparent in your article, Sara, but is a reporter at a daily newspaper the smart route? I don’t pose this question in a condescending way, but sometimes, I feel like our generation is torn between what they’ve always “dreamed” of doing vs. not just the economy but the media sector as a whole. I have a passion similar to yours, but I, personally, would never take a job at a newspaper.

    I say this to spark some sort of discussion regarding the future of journalism, which is what I am most interested in. I hope it does not come across the wrong way! Your ambition is great, put print media is a failing industry. Not to mention, publishing companies like Gatehouse Media, for example, exploit recent graduates and pay them close to nothing: a sign of the times, my friends.

    Reply

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