Not only have I always loved current events, I have always had a passion for writing. The combination of these interests led me to my decision to major in journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.
I immediately fell in love with the journalism classes offered at the UI, but I wanted to expand my education by working for The Daily Iowan, the independent newspaper serving the campus and Iowa City communities.
This fall, I started working as a Metro reporter for The Daily Iowan. This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I encourage anyone interested in journalism to pursue a job at their college newspaper for the following reasons:
1. Meeting new people. Since starting my job at The Daily Iowan, I have made a significant amount of new friends. Because all of the reporters, designers, and photographers are in the newsroom almost every day, we have all become close. I can relate to my co-workers because we all understand what each other is going through, unlike people outside the office. We all support each other if things get stressful and we know how to have fun together during our time off. The newsroom is almost like our home. It’s a place we can go for comfort, laughter, and inspiration from our colleagues. And sometimes, there are bagels.
2. Leads to better job opportunities after college. If you are interested in a career in journalism after college, working for a campus publication will undoubtedly put you above your competition. A degree is not the only thing that will get you a job at a top news outlet. Experience matters just as much, or more, than the classes offered. With every clip a journalist collects, their repertoire grows and this is appealing to potential employers. Daily Iowan alumni have gone on to work at The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, the Associated Press, and many others. The skills you will learn as a college journalist can be applied to almost any career.
3. National exposure. There is a possibility that a larger publication could pick up an article you write and link to it on their websites. Recently, my story about the State of the Union address was linked on the Washington Post’s website. Other reporters from The Daily Iowan have had their work published in the Huffington Post and CNN, too. This is something that looks great on a resume and adds to your credibility as a college journalist.
4. Great connections. Whether it’s with professors and faculty in different university departments, experts from organizations around the country, or a local business owner, college journalists are able to speak to a large spectrum of people. These conversations and stories, if done well, can lead to professional relationships that will work to your advantage for story ideas, references, and even jobs in the future. Always keep the contact information you obtain from past stories, because you never know when you will need to get in touch with someone again. The great thing about journalism is that it allows reporters to learn about many different things with each story. Take advantage of this benefit!
5. Be a step ahead of your classmates. As a college journalist, you have the chance to do real reporting. As opposed to just learning about it in a large lecture, you will learn as you go. For example, I am currently learning how to write a good lede in my Reporting and Writing class. While it’s nice to get formal training, my reporting experience makes things a little bit easier.
My time as a college journalist has solidified the fact that I want to be a journalist for the rest of my life. Although it can be stressful at times, I am constantly proud of the work I get to do on a daily basis. My work makes me happy, and that’s what it’s all about, right?
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