I think my generation can be pretty arrogant at times. I was hanging out over the break with some friends who also study journalism at another school. They complained of professors who made them turn in new writing three times a week. They also moaned about constantly having to be in writing mode. This sorta blew my mind but I couldn’t judge to much. In fact during this part of the conversation I stayed silent because I felt I had nothing to contribute. It wasn’t until one friend said “I don’t know why I have to waste my talents on these baby articles all the time”. Before anyone else could speak I laughed and inquired “Who died and made you Ernest Hemingway?” (The friend didn’t know that Hemingway was actually a journalist at one time)
I think it is perhaps the greatest travesty in my generation that we think we are the corner market of our fields at 21 years old. While I do agree that youth brings innovation, I have to maintain that in order to fix or improve upon something you need to understand what it really is (I understand the implications of subjective truth please breathe). I feel like before you can call yourself a real deal journalist you have to do some pretty crappy legwork. Why? Because you get a grand appreciation for things. It also helps you understand how things really are.
For a person who isn’t a journalist, they can maintain that it’s a job so easy a monkey could do it. I would like to see a monkey capture the scene of a devastating crime or a joyous event. I would like to see that monkey record in brevity the human experience at it’s finest and worst moments. The truth of the matter is despite the closing down of many print newspapers, journalism will always be relevant. People need to hear what’s going on. Information is power, it is also a comfort and a provoker. What journalist do is just as serious a trade as anything else. With that being said you don’t just wake up one morning and say “Hey, I’m a journalist!” No, you go to school and you PRACTICE writing. Our trades are not hoobies that we can click on a few websites and become experts at. The skill of interviewing does not come from reading a book. The more I interview people the better at it I become. It’s the same with my writing, at least that’s what I hope. Practice makes perfect, but in order to get anywhere close to that you actually do have to practice.