Independent journalism speaks for those who can’t
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On a whim, I began writing for my college newspaper the spring semester of my freshman year of college. I had no experience in the Journalism field other than exposure through my father’s professional career. My interest was derived from, much like my fellow peers, my lack of direction and a perspective needed to make the most of my time as a college student. Although I was not aware of it at the time, this generated a curiosity to explore the academic atmosphere and curriculum options available on campus. I enrolled in the newspaper class at North Idaho College and quickly excelled in the act of reporting and writing. The newspaper gave my voice an outlet that I shared with other students. I thrived with my new found talent and my own personal piece of North Idaho College.
This was far from all that the field of Journalism offered. I was completely unaware of the many gifts I would receive until I completed a year as Managing Editor of the “Northwest Trail.” This opportunity gave me autonomy to pursue a diverse range of topics and also to assign them out to my fellow reporters. One topic that really hit home for me was the problem of domestic violence in society, and through my reporting, I was able to bring awareness of the problem to campus. Furthermore, I was able to divide responsibilities among my fellow reporters such as marriage equality in the state of Wyoming.
Together, we created award winning stories, photographs and photo illustrations that covered important policy and societal problems. This experience made me aware of the importance of stifled voices in society and the responsibility journalists have to speak for them. Students especially need to learn the value of their voice in society and gain the skills necessary to communicate it effectively and efficiently. Fortunately, through my experience, I found the importance of it at a young age and it has propelled me into my professional career to seek out more opportunities to speak and communicate for those who cannot. The “Trail” helped me develop my passion for serving the community and gave me the skills to execute my professional dreams.
Since I left the “Trail” I have ventured outside of the college realm seeking professional career opportunities and have been successful. I believe that the source of my success stems from the excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, that I gained while working for the “Trail.” Prior to the “Trail,” I lacked an understanding of diplomacy or networking skills in the professional arena. Through my work, I spent time interacting with administrators, Pulitzer Prize winning authors and international diplomats. This exposure, especially at a young age, gave me valuable skills that most students do not fine tune until they are college graduates. Also, the confidence I gained has been crucial in my professional development and I continuously put myself out there and to never doubt that I cannot accomplish anything I want to accomplish. I gained a strong work ethic, a sense of purpose, time management skills and also a strong community of peers among my fellow staff and editors. From the moment I left, I have been actively seeking for another opportunity for me to obtain a similar situation; a situation that gifts me with a sense of purpose and a crazy desire to stay up till 1:00 a.m. and then to wake up at 6 a.m. the next morning to start all over again.
The hard and, slightly exasperating, work I did for the “Trail” was worth every hour of sleep I lost, every social occasion I missed and every finger nail chewed to a nub while trying to make deadline. My experience was a lot to lose, and walking away from it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I am very disheartened to see the “Trail” go, and even more sad to think that the opportunity I experienced will never inspire another individuals in their lives. My experience changed my perceptions, my sense of direction and my entire professional life at the age of 20. Without it, I would not have the skills I need to fast forward my professional career into achieving dream job by the time I graduate with my Bachelors Degree in fall 2017. The absence of the “Trail” will put a large hole in the curriculum of Northwest College, one that they will not easily replicate.