MACS Journalism Panel

Tonight I attended an event put on by the Michigan Association of Communication Studies. I went hoping to learn a thing or two about journalism as a topic, a study, and a career, but what I actually got was five incredible, eye-opening accounts of what it looks like to do something that you are truly passionate about, of which I will share a few.

Alex Stone had a lot to say that really stuck with me. Although all of the journalists spoke about this at one point or another, Stone introduced the importance of passion in your work – particularly a career in journalism. Maybe there are careers that you can make through without being passionate, but if you want to get far in journalism, you have to care about it. If you are passionate about what you write about, you will make other people passionate about it as well because they will feel the devotion that went into it. An important drive of my Evolution Essay is the idea that once I became passionate about what I was writing about, I enjoyed writing more and was more pleased with the work I was producing. I don’t think I have made people necessarily passionate about what I’ve written about, but I think I’ve written in such a way to at least make people more interested in my writing than they might have been if they read something I hadn’t been passionate to write about.

Additionally, he believes that although print newspapers are coming to an unfortunate end, the new types of journalism will allow more people to be journalists. With video journalism where all you need is some type of recording device and the internet, even journalists on shoestring budgets have access to get their information out. So my question for you all is, do you agree that this is a good way to view the evolution of news sources? Or do you still argue for print? Why?

Another interesting takeaway is that most of the panelists did not use their degrees immediately, but whatever their post-college jobs were ended up as a path to journalism. Some had degrees in science-related fields, one philosophy, one English, etc. Their first job didn’t have anything to do with their studies, but eventually they became journalists. It was interesting to see first-hand how these people’s passions led them to journalism, rather than what they studies. One journalist became set on the idea that she would write for the political beat, and even though it took her a few years, she eventually got there. She was one of the first journalists to report the 9/11 event from ground zero. She disguised herself as a volunteer, and handed out water bottles to people being saved from the mountains of rubble. Because of the severity and sensitivity of this event, police were clearly not trying to accept any media coverage. As this woman was handing out water bottles, she would write down details very inconspicuously, to prevent looking like a journalist. She spent almost all night there and then went in to write about it. It was fascinating to learn that this had been her dream, and even though nobody had allowed her to write about it until then, she kept persistent and continued to write in hopes of it someday being published somewhere.

My second question is, How many people graduating in the next few weeks are using their major for their next step after college (provided you know what that next step is)?

And a closing thought to consider when thinking about passion relating to work and influencing people:

“People forget what you say to them, but not how you made them feel.”

*References to consider – Petra Bartosiewicz covers the 9/11 attack for the New York Observer, James O’Shea’s The Daisy Chain, & Alex Stone’s “The Magic Olympics” for Harper’s Magazine.




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