My first semester without a weekly budget or post-production meetings was a well-deserved break.
On Sundays, my only concern is getting into the dreaded 9am to 5pm, as opposed to being scolded for a last-minute story in the paper.
I no longer throw sloppy presentations with a vague idea and no idea of visuals on Tuesdays.
My schedule was busy with my job, my masters classes and my fieldwork, not The Temple News.
Although it seems like journalism is a burden, I couldn’t imagine spending my undergraduate years without it.
In high school, I was gifted and signed up for every activity available. In middle school, I was lucky if I came to the second club meeting. But that was not the case with The Temple News.
I signed up as a freelancer for the Opinion section because I was raised in a conservative rural town where I wasn’t allowed to voice my opinion without controversy, so I thought The Temple News might give me an outlet. to say what I think.
And he did. I finally found my voice; although I was too passive to use it verbally, I could show off my thesaurus-like vocabulary and stubborn personality in my writing. Unlike most freelancers, I wasn’t a journalism major; I was a public health student, so writing for the journal was a change of pace from my biostatistics or epidemiology homework.
After two years of freelance work, my editor saw in me the potential to be the health columnist. It was an honor that he thought I could be trusted to write an article every week, and his faith gave me the boost of confidence to take the next step and apply as an editor. of opinion.
Managing the Opinion section was one of the most time-consuming but useful tasks I’ve had.
Every other Sunday, I found myself in the newsroom scrambling to finish my section on time. Two days later, I saw my completed section and thought “Wow, I really did this.”
For every typo I missed, there was a full column that would catch the eye of a professor or colleague. Several people, including my best friend’s mother, said they read the Opinion section every week because of me.
Now, in my post-Temple News career, I have been able to step back and reflect on how writing for the newspaper shaped my undergraduate experience and affected me today.
In addition to learning AP style, such as not using an Oxford comma or the preposition “over” when I mean “more than”, I learned the importance of people-oriented language, placing a individual before his illness or condition. This is a core concept in public health research, and it has guided me in my understanding that we are not defined by things beyond our control.
Journalistic writing has helped me better grasp the nuance of the English language; this is underlined in public relations, an area that previously did not interest me.
Now I’m building a social media presence for my professional food blog and working with several PR firms. While it’s not my full-time job, nor related to my major, content creation is an escape from monotonous data entry or endless recruiting phone calls.
It reminds me that I crave creativity, whether it’s writing essays, taking photos, or editing videos. Without The Temple News, I have more time to focus on social media management, and I’ve realized the two have several parallels: I’m talking to a target audience and trying to get a message across. .
Trying to compile my thoughts and reminisce about my time as an opinion writer has been especially difficult because I haven’t written in so long. I feel like the summer between spring and fall semesters has just passed and I’m scratching my brain for the lessons I learned months ago.
Thinking about all the people I’ve interviewed and the independents I hope to have inspired gives me a bittersweet rush of nostalgia. One of my former freelancers texting me at 11:45 p.m. reminding me of the midnight deadline strikes me as bizarre, ironic, and wonderful all at the same time.
I guess you could say I’m retired at 23. Although I probably won’t be pursuing a career in journalism anytime soon, I’m grateful for this experience because it has helped me become a better writer and a more informed person, two skills I’ll need after graduating. of my degree.
Every time I look at the little owl-shaped trophy I won for being on staff, I will remember my former editors, freelancers and interviewees I met at The Temple News.