Today: May 22, 2024

Preparing me for the real world in journalism

Abby Epstein Managing Editor

The first moment I stepped into the newsroom I knew I wanted to join the newspaper. Everyone had so much energy, got along and always welcomed newcomers.  

The newsroom became a place I knew I could always go no matter what. Plus, spending time in there made it easier to bond with everyone quicker because the whole staff would hang out in the newsroom when we were not in class. By being able to create those bonds, I made some of my best friends from the newspaper.  

Not only did new friendships develop, but so did my writing skills. Starting off as a news writer and writing three stories seemed like a ton, but it allowed me to learn AP style better and get corrections on my writing weekly. During layout on Monday pages go through the copy desk at least two times where stories are edited even more. I would come into the newsroom on Monday to see how the process was for laying out and the copy desk would always have corrections to share with me on how to improve my writing.  

Spending time in the newsrooms learning how busy and hectic Monday’s can be helped prepare me for becoming news editor. I was news editor last semester, a position which allowed me to improve my knowledge of InDesign. No matter what job I held at the newspaper everyone was willing to help and assist in making me a better journalist. Without the help of others, I would never have been able to learn InDesign as fast as I did without assistance.  

Interviewing also became easier with each story I wrote. With needing three sources per story, I was talking to at least nine people a week. This helped with becoming more comfortable with walking up to random people to ask them a question. Having to interview a minimum of nine interviews a week and some being prominent people at the university, I had to learn quick on what questions to ask and have the confidence to interview important people. Now I have no problems walking up to someone in the Student Center to ask them a question for a story.  

Not only was the newsroom a fun place to hang out but I also got an understanding on how a newsroom works. How stories are pitched and dealing with writing three stories a week helped me prepare for when I would be working at a real newspaper. I interned at the local newspaper in my hometown and being a part of the newspaper, I understood much of what they would talk to me about. When I was handed multiple stories at once I was not overwhelmed because the school newspaper had prepared me to handle this amount of work.  

Joining the Southern News really allowed me to improve all my journalism skills while having fun doing it. Everyone that is a part of the newspaper is willing to help and is invested in the paper.  

I wish I could have been part of the paper for all four years of college, but I am grateful for the time I had there. I am also grateful for the people I met because it was nice to have people, I could relate to about what it took to be a journalism student.  

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