As a college student majoring in Journalism, I often hear the depressing news about the demise of the newspapers as we know it because of the Internet. As much as anyone working in the field may hate to admit it, oftentimes what you used to only be able to find within the folds of your morning paper as you sip your coffee can be found on the internet or on your Blackberry phone.
Someone once told me that journalists don’t necessarily go into their field of work for the money, but for the love of what they do. I began to recall my own reasoning for choosing journalism as a major and ultimately a potential field of work. It all began when I was a freshman in high school. I chose my school’s newspaper journalism course out of the course handbook. Since I had always loved writing, I thought it would be the perfect way to put that love into action and share it with other students at the school.
The class was difficult at first. I was trying to get used to the new styles of writing as well as all the rules of journalism that I was being taught, meanwhile spending a lot of time scheduling interviews with people based on the stories I was assigned.
At first, I hated doing interviews. I was nervous and often felt that my questions weren’t good enough. After time, however, my writing improved, thanks to a great teacher and editors on the staff. Interviews eventually became a way to meet new people, hear their story, and learn something new.
Eventually, I became the paper’s “Feature Editor” and began to learn things about the layout of the paper and how to use different computer programs. I became close friends with fellow editors and staff members. I looked forward to “paste-ups”, or putting the finishing touches on the layout and putting stories on the page and preparing for printing. “Paste-ups” meant spending time with some of my best friends.
When the paper came out once a month, I was happy to see people reading stories I had written, and looking at pages I had put together. This was just one other thing that made me love journalism and being a part of a newspaper staff.
So, what started out for me as a class that sounded interesting turned into a way to meet people and learn new things, a way to make friends, a way to learn about newspapers and journalism, a way to appreciate my work, and overall one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
Today I am grateful to be spending my third summer at the Milton Courier. I still love writing, meeting and talking to new people, and hearing their stories. I love the excitement of sending the paper off to be printed every week, and I still get excited picking up a copy and seeing my work in print right there on the page.
As for the future of newspapers, I hope that they will stay around. Not because the Internet threatens to wipe journalism off the face of the earth. I believe that even if newspapers cease to exist, writers and reporters will still be needed, web or otherwise. And even though now it is uncertain, I believe a system can be developed that allows online payments to be simple. It’s not about the money. I hope newspapers stay because it is a symbol of a staff’s hard work. It is something that can be held onto and kept for a long time.
All set aside, there is something special, whether you are a writer or a reader, about holding that work in your own two hands and admiring it. And I’m not talking about your Blackberry!