Tag Archives: making history

My First ‘Almost Law Suit’

Alright, so I didn’t technically almost get sued, but I finally had my first “stepping on the wrong people’s toes” moment in my journey to journalism (yikes!).

It all started with a normal feature page idea for my school’s newspaper – coming up with our own secret menu for our on-campus coffee spot, Java City. One of the editors had halfheartedly suggested it and somehow, we decided to run with it and see where it took us. Everyone in the office had a lot of fun looking at all the syrups, flavor shots, and add-ins, creating their own unique drink, naming it, and taste-testing their new concoction. By the time the feature was finished, we had created six Houston Baptist University/Collegian themed drinks.

Then, publication day came, and well, to put it lightly, the head of food services at my university was a little surprised. Although we intended to notify him ahead of time, there was some miscommunication and, long story short, he had no idea we were making these new drinks until he saw it in the paper. Not to mention, he was not too happy about our use of the Java City logo on the front page. Thankfully, when it all came down to it, he just was caught off guard and understandably wished we had filled him in ahead of time.

The infamous "secret menu" feature.

The infamous “secret menu” feature.

All in all, it wasn’t really bad; I wouldn’t even say it was a “close call,” but it definitely had the potential to turn into a big mess. What started as a fun project could have ended up as a huge problem for the newspaper. I’m glad we at least took the precautions to make sure that all our “secret menu” drinks wouldn’t interfere with the way Java City normally charges for drinks and flavor shots. In fact, it might have increased their revenue here on campus.

In the end, the workers at our Java City have the feature page behind their counter and even refer to the new drinks by the names we came up with! It was kind of cool to see journalism, even on a small scale, having an impact like that and actually creating something that became adopted and implemented (that’s the power of the media for you). So, two lessons learned, or rather, relearned.

  1. It is terrifyingly easy to get into trouble that could have been prevented by better communication or verification. Although it can be tedious and time-consuming, being extra careful in ensuring you have permission and rights before publishing something can be the very thing that prevents your fun, innovative idea from becoming a legal issue.
  2. Media is powerful. There’s somewhat of an adrenaline rush that comes from the realization that through something like a student newspaper, one can create (or destroy) something. *insert evil laugh here* Which is why, going back to the first lesson, it can not be emphasized enough how important it is to be careful. Whether publishing on a personal blog or a renown publication, you never know what will be the one thing that makes an impact on the world you live in, for better or for worse.

 

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Reason: History in the Making

ImageA little word of advice: Don’t take a huge break from blogging/writing if you don’t have to. I’m finding it hard getting back into blogging because I’ve gotten… well… lazy from my break. In fact, this break, it was pretty easy to brainstorm things to blog about but the hard part was actually typing it out :P. However, Christmas break is coming to an end and so must my procrastination. 

That said, as I was watching Hoda Kotb (who I kind of “met in person”) and Kathie Lee Gifford host “A Toast to 2013” on New Year’s Eve, I was reminded of one of the many reasons why I decided to pursue journalism. As the journalists and special guests reflected over all the big events, surprises and trends that have popped up this past year, I realized that they were able to recall it so effortlessly because they played a huge role in each and every tragedy, viral video, natural disaster, and headline. 

While they obviously didn’t cause or experience most of the news they covered firsthand, journalists have to research, interview and really dig deep into the stories they cover so that they can serve as the link between the public and the big moments that happen each year. That’s what I want to be apart of. 

Sure, with deadlines and the fast-paced world of social media, it is hard to just sit back and enjoy the moment as a journalist, but on the other hand, by having to cover so many stories and events, journalists get to be a part of the moment. The stories that were at one time assignments and more work to do, eventually become our record of history. 

I really don’t think I’m doing this justice. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time explaining it in words (told you not to take a break from writing!). Anyway, it just amazes me to look at these people who bring us the news and think about the huge role they play in making history.