I never actually intended to be a journalist

Josh LaBella – Managing Editor

I stumbled into it. It all started by taking an introductory course in journalism. After that class, Professor Dunklee told me he thought I was a perceptive writer and I could make a good journalist. Between his encouragement and my mom’s, I decided to take a chance.

By the second semester of my junior year I was a general assignment reporter for The Southern News. Writing five stories a week was a daunting task, but for the first time I felt connected to Southern.

I had been in other clubs, sure, but because of the newspaper I truly felt as if I had my fingers on the pulse of the university. I met new people from all different departments and walks of life. I knew what was going on before my fellow students and faculty.

Throughout my four semesters at Southern I served in four different positions. Climbing up the ladder brought more responsibility and a greater appreciation for the challenge and honor it was to serve my fellow students in bringing them the news.

I have interviewed high profile people such as Khazir Khan and Senator Chris Murphy. It is through these stories that I have become comfortable and confident in my ability to report and write stories.

Of course, there are also downsides. As an editor, I have had to deal with an administration which, at times, is as uncooperative and unfriendly towards the press, as is the current executive branch of the federal government.

People in positions of power never want any form of dissenting viewpoint – and our reporting has brought those to light.

One curse of being a journalist is working hard every week to bring news to the public but having the majority of your feedback be negative criticism.

You can never please everyone.

It is not infrequent that myself or one of my fellow reporters would be told by an interview subject that they had been “burned” by Southern years prior.

People fail to realize the amount of turnover we have at Southern News. Our most experienced staffers graduated every semester. The students who fill their positions are learning on the job.

The crucible that is putting together a newspaper every week takes an immense amount of time and dedication.
The University should recognize and appreciate the hard work of all the students that strive to bring forth the paper while also balancing classes, work and their social lives.

My colleagues at the Southern News and the professors who help us are some of the finest people I have ever known. It has been an honor to work and laugh with them these past years. My time here has been transformational.

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