Having been out in the “real world” of non-collegiate journalism for a few months (four months and nine days, to be exact), I’ve spent a good chunk of time being semi-depressed/nostalgic for things I wish were the same at my “real world” newsroom that were always present at my college newsroom.
For those of you who wish to join me in my ink-stained journey back to the not-so-distant past of my college days, here we go…
1. My friends
No matter what lies people try to feed young journalism students about how they can get sucked into journalism and need to find a way to balance their work with their personal life, they need to ignore it. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The people I worked with at the Alestle are some of my best friends. I still keep in contact with them, but it’s not the same as seeing them almost every day for the two and a half years I spent in that office. Especially since one of them moved half way across the country after graduation.
2. The pureness of it all.
I’ve heard it said before that college newsrooms are the most pure. Reasons differ, but the fact the remains. There’s just something about young, dedicated and passionate journalists trying to find their niche, and (for the most part) refusing to fail at any assignment their given, that makes it… pure. Everyone is so careful not to misquote someone, spell a name wrong, get a fact wrong or libel someone. When one of those things does happen, it’s one of the worst, most gut-wrenching feelings ever. Plus, everyone is in it together, figuring things out and learning what to do.
3. The camaraderie.
Because you spend just about every day with your fellow college journos, you’re going to become close. And most likely you’ll have at least a class or two together. There’s just a connection that you all share, pretty much like I mentioned in the ‘pureness’ part of this blog. Even if you hate someone you work with, or you’re easily frustrated by them, you know you’ll all pull together for both the good and the bad. Unfortunately, for my newsroom, we pulled together for the bad. But I’ll never forget how we were all there for each other. They’re a second family, whether or not you realize it at the time.
4. The inside jokes.
So many things happened with my newspaper friends that will always be ingrained in my memory. From the jokes that developed at journalism conventions (“little box”) to the quotes that were said in drunken-hilarity (“These Red Vines are going to be GONE!”) to the randomness of anything and everything that was said on a production day (“I’m going to throw one of three things out the window.” “Please don’t throw me.” “Well, now we’re down to two.”), it’s something you take for granted. Cherish it. I know I will.
4. The quirks of your co-workers.
You know that one thing that someone always did to try to relieve the tension or stress of deadline, or just because they wanted to try and make people laugh? That’s what this video was for us:
Okay, let me explain. We used Quark to design our paper and had to “collect” the pages before we could leave for the day. And almost every print production day, someone (99.9 percent of the time it was our sports editor) would play this video, and then yell, “[SECTION NAME] COLLECTED!”
5. The guidance of a writer’s coach and adviser.
This one is pretty obvious, but there’s nobody to fall back on when you get into the real world. You don’t have a writer’s coach offering to look at your copy before you submit it to your editor. You don’t have an adviser you can go to for advice on a tough issue. You have yourself. So, take advantage of everybody who is willing to help that you can. Soon enough, their voices of reason and objectivity will become the editorial voices inside your head.