Last week was tough. To sum up the major things: my opinion editor/executive managing editor told me she wouldn’t be able to continue working for the paper after spring break, the company that prints my school’s newspapers is shutting down next month, the shipment of the right paper wasn’t in on time for publication so we had to use a mix of two different papers for this issue, I found out my school is not going to continue the journalism major, and I stayed in the office working until 2 a.m. on deadline for our first 16 page issue of the semester. Okay, so that wasn’t summing it up, and in the end, all those things worked themselves out (and I’m still alive). Although I wouldn’t willingly relive that week, I gained a lot of valuable lessons through those experiences. Here are a few.
Censorship = A Journalist’s Worst Nightmare: I kind of hinted at this in my last post, but I ran into an issue at my university that taught me that I am not exactly free to publish everything. It was a bit frustrating trying to understand and work with people who are above me who say they have the school’s best in mind but inadvertently make it more difficult for the editor in chief of the school paper (*cough* me *cough*) to keep students updated. That whole experience though will be something that I will never forget and it made me see that reporting news is a lot more complicated than what it seems on the surface. There are obviously those things that you can’t publish due to legal reasons, but there are also stories that may do more harm than good, so do you still publish it?
Don’t Report When You’re Angry: Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way, but going off of the previous lesson, there were a lot of things that I said in the heat of the moment that I am thankful I did not publish. Especially when there’s an issue that is close to you, give it some time before deciding if and how you’re going to write about it. Notice this blog post didn’t come until a full week later, I don’t even want to think about what I would’ve posted if I wrote this last week.
Focus. Focus. Focus!: There is way too much to cover to get so caught up in the little issues. I learned that I not only have to be intentional with my time, but also with my thoughts. There are so many times when I spend a ridiculous amount of time just brainstorming a bunch of different story ideas, but never have the time to see them through. Brainstorming is good, but there comes a time where you just have to pick one thing, cut your losses, and run with it.
Expect the Unexpected: Going into last week, I did not expect that I would need to consider finding a new printer and an executive managing editor (and I don’t know if you understand how much my executive managing editor means to me…she keeps me sane during deadlines!). I’m pretty sure I mentioned this before, and I assure you, I will mention this again, but the job description of editor in chief/journalism student grows bigger and bigger every day. I did not expect to have to deal with so much budget, financial, crises management, business issues, but it’s teaching me a lot.
News Goes On…and So Does Life: Despite whatever unexpected event or crises comes up, new news to report is being made every second. Even if I miss one opportunity or breaking story, there is always going to be another story to cover. That does not take away the disappointment that comes with a lost story, but it does give you what it takes to move on to the next story.