A little bit of reflection, as I come down to my last week and a half at the Missourian –

Everything else aside… ignoring the grade, ignoring the stressful moments and the lingering weaknesses…

This has been the single most important class I have taken in University.

The lecture was, honestly, quite fantastic, even if I didn’t really consider that until the end. It reinforced the lab well as we learned about style and self editing and different types of stories and getting closer to difficult subjects, all the while weaving tips and tricks and our own examples and nobel prize examples and ethics into the discussion.

The GA shifts, when I actually did something – (about 1/2 the time, such are the joys of nightshift) – were surprisingly very useful, very good for me. I couldn’t hide myself away in the dark, spending hours fretting over lines. I learned to go out into the community at a moment’s notice, take the back-roads to reach the accident blocking up the interstate, follow the smoke and the red sky to the fire, get basic information from a panicking girlfriend, and go where everyone else can’t or won’t or wouldn’t. I may not be planning to be a reporter, but after this class, I actually think I could. Maybe.

And working with my beat, even though I feel like I could have done a lot more (at least in the sense of quantity), was perhaps the most rewarding. The one-on-one editing early on in the semester helped me a lot to learn about style and editing, and how much voice and description I can put into what kind of story, and what’s interesting for news and what isn’t. My beat stories were the ones closest to what I want to do with my career – when I was writing about mushroom hunting in the beautiful autumn woods, about a crazy costumed cross country run, about a civil war reenactment half a state away, about a man who took a sternwheeler from Ohio home to Columbia by river… I thought, “This is it… I really, genuinely enjoy this… this is what I want to do.”

I’ve learned a lot, about working across departments, making phone calls, approaching people on the street, feeling like I’m not some impostor who hasn’t any right to ask any questions. Feeling a little bit like an adult, like a professional – and isn’t that half the battle?

 

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