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Enthusiastic senior journalist for the future

As of this writing, it’s two in the morning and I’m trying to sum up four years of work for the Northern Star. Being a writer is often made up of late nights, fueled by Coca-Cola and a deadline. But as I write one of my last articles for this journal, I am amazed at how far I have browsed this wonderful journal.

I entered my first year of NIU with a major in communications and a minor in journalism. While my main ambition was, and still is, to study cinema, I added journalism as a fallback. After all, some of my favorite heroes and storytellers are journalists: Roger Ebert, Bob Woodward, Hunter S. Thompson and Ronan Farrow. I thought it would be a nice retreat.

At the honors retreat just before the fall 2018 semester, I heard about the North Star and decided to apply. Ever since I was taking general education classes in first grade, I wanted to do something related to what I wanted in life. Within days I was interviewed, hired, and started writing articles. I hadn’t taken a single class yet and was already writing movie reviews for the Lifestyle section.

I didn’t take journalism classes until my second year, but I was already shaped by the world of journalism. If you’re a journalism student and you don’t work for the Northern Star, what exactly do you do with your life? This is the best opportunity for print journalism you will ever have at NIU. You work alongside other students. You cover the events that impact your university. You get to see the diversity of this campus.

I could list a bunch of stories from my time at the Northern Star, and I have a bunch. What else could you expect when I’ve been a lifestyle writer, lifestyle editor, opinion columnist, and senior journalist? I’ve had many delightful experiences, including my coverage of Egyptian theater, exploring different programs at NIU, and even interviewing Oscar-nominated actor Richard Jenkins.

But this document was also difficult. Despite a massive pandemic, many of us stayed and continued to work. We learned to use Zoom and continue to do our jobs. Because that’s what the North Star has always been to me: a job. Even when I wasn’t getting paid, I had the mentality that I would give my all to this place.

It’s hard to be a journalist. I mean exhausting. He picks you up and beats you up and he’ll knock you out if you give up. Sometimes there is a source that will not answer you. Sometimes a story idea just doesn’t work. Sometimes you have a lot to do and you try to find the time to write a story. You have to learn to deal with it. You have to approach this impossible way of living by saying “I can do this”.

I saw a lot of journalists coming and going at the Star and I think I could understand what makes it a good one. First, you need drive and a willingness to work with others. L’Etoile du Nord is a place that values ​​individual success, but we are all part of a hierarchical team. We need to look out for each other and help other journalists with their stories.

You also have to have tough skin to be a journalist. There are many people who will say “no” to you. You have to move forward and be creative. You also have to humble yourself. When you work here, what looks good to you may not really be good. Sometimes an editor tears up your story and you have to work with them because they want your story to be better. Even great journalists had editors.

Finally, to be a really good writer, you need a strong work ethic. All of this can be learned, but it takes hard work to make it work. You don’t get paid much, if at all, but you’re doing a public service. You educate people and tell stories.

When I joined the Star, I started writing one article a week for a section. Now I work on several sections by writing three articles per week. All of this I do alongside my work as a filmmaker and student. If I told my 18-year-old self what kind of workload he would have when he was a senior, he would probably question my sanity.

But none of these accomplishments would have been possible without all the great teachers and mentors I’ve had over the years. First of all I would like to thank Sam Malone and Dylan Simons for teaching me the ropes when I joined the Star all those years ago. I also want to thank all of my editors and reporters that I have worked with during my four years here, including Jaime O’Toole, Haley Galvin, Jacob Baker and Yari Tapia. I also have to thank the current list of editors and friends who continue to inspire me every time I walk into the office: Wes Sanderson, Brionna Belcher, Madelaine Vikse, Jordan Radloff, Kurt Bitting, Abigail Lamoreaux and Elisa Reamer .

I thank Shelley Hendricks and Maria Krull for being fantastic advisors and always giving me words of wisdom.

Finally, I would like to thank my family, especially my parents and my brother, for their love and support over the years.

Working for the Northern Star has been a huge honor and I will miss this article. However, I am excited for what lies ahead. I plan to move to New York in the next few months and progress in the film and freelance journalism industries. There are many things I have to look forward to, but I know I can’t and won’t forget the excitement I have writing for NIU’s school newspaper. So if there’s anything to take away from this dribbling and ego inflation, it’s that I say “thank you”.

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