Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Life of a JO Major

I'll just be right up front and say it - being a journalism major is not easy. There are so many class requirements in general, and more times than not the work load can be stressful. There are times when I'm stuck staying up late writing an article or editing paper or whatever it may be, while all my friends are out in the common room watching a movie - and it gets old fast. But in the end, I know it will be worth it, after all I'm learning skills that I will be able to use in my everyday life, no matter where I end up - that's the good thing about being a JO major.

Out of all the Journalism requirements, the one that I think I've learned the most from and gotten the most out of is the class I'm in right now - Editing and Design. While there are a lot of negative rumors surrounding this class (most specifically centered around the amount of work students are required to complete), it's really not that bad at all. It is true that the class meets 3 times a week and 7 Sundays out of the semester are dedicated to labs - but in the end, the work you produce is really rewarding. You end up with something tangible, something real that you can take to potential employers and say this is what I did - here's the school paper that I reported for, edited, and laid out.

Because in this class you do it all. You pitch story ideas, some of which you actually write, others you simply edit (I say simply here - but it's a little more involved then that: you actually have to meet with your media writer and go over their articles with them, help them with edits, and be there for them along the way in case any problems arise - it's a big leadership role). Not only do you write and edit, but you also get to lay out the paper - you place everything from articles, to pictures, to graphs, to ads (this is what you spend your Sundays doing) - you're basically one of those people who makes the final decision on how the news is presented to the rest of the campus community - which may sound overwhelming, but is really rewarding. 

You also get a little more freedom in the stories you report on - I mean, you are the one to pitch the stories, so you can pitch something you're really interested in and then write about it. I recently had the chance to write an article about the amount of work students are actually expected to do while in college and I got to talk to some pretty cool people - most specifically a professor at NYU, Richard Arum, who published the study, "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses." The great thing about this interview is that at the time I was the only college student reporter he had agreed to talk with - even though he'd received requests from school all across the country. The reason he chose to talk to me was because I had conducted an online survey to find out how much work was required by students at SMC. This may not sound like the most exciting article out there to write - but it really was interesting! 

This class overall has just been great and I've learned a lot. I mean, before the semester began I had no idea how to use Adobe In-Design and now I use it every weekend. Not only that, but I've also been able to meet with and talk to really interesting people and I've taken on a leadership role with the community at St. Michael's. So, yea it may be hard, but in the end it's definitely worth it!

Anyone interested in checking out "The Defender" - St. Mike's paper  - can see it right online here.

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