The following capitalization isn’t meant for distinguishing topics, it’s as close to yelling as WordPress appears to offer and when or if any of these occurrences happen to you, I think you’ll agree.
The 8 worst reoccurring events true to a day in the life of an MU J School (Convergence) student:
1. RE-DOING AN INTERVIEW – At this moment, as I sit in the University of Missouri School of Journalism Futures Lab, I’m inspired to write a post empathizing with young journalists because a recording of my Skype interview for RJI is saving.
If you’re a young journalist, you’ve felt that instantly heart-sinking, eye-watering, fist-clenching moment when an interview recording just doesn’t go well. Instinct kicks in to ninja kick the computer/camera/marantz/zoom/hated-piece-of-crap-device you’re using, run home and hide under your sheets swearing that you’re done with journalism forever. Call them back, beg for forgiveness, another chance, and take two.
2. FORGETTING A MEMORY CARD – Or batteries, CF card, card reader, tripod, forget it- forget any one of the 9,939,398 items a journalist (especially a multimedia journalist) is expected to remember and try not to instantly snap from professional young adult to sweating psycho straight out of Celebrity Rehab, recently admitted and tearing apart their bag for an invisible pill – or SD card – hopefully hiding in one of the pockets you’ve already checked nine times. It’s not there. You screwed up, now find the closest Walmart and drive like hell.
3. FORGETTING TO SAVE – Non-journalism kids can relate: RIP beautifully written and never to be replicated again, 1,000-word document forever lost to cyber space. And god forbid it’s for a story on deadline…good luck ever being able to read that again without feeling bitterly disappointed it’s not the first draft.
Once you’ve been through the dramatically jaw dropping moment that accompanies a computer crash and you pathetically watching the story that’s taken you all night to finish disappear right in front of you, or mysteriously disappear from the server, you immediately and everlastingly turn into an obsessive “Control S-er”.
Now you can’t make it through a sentence without a ritual “control s” to save the document. You’re not alone. *control s*
4. YOU DIDN’T HIT RECORD – Today I can blame technology for the tiny, unselected button I never knew existed that led me to recording an entire interview apart from the audio. You know, the important part?
But there will come a time when you look for the indicator on your recording device, be it a flashing or glowing red light, counting timer or otherwise, and it won’t be there. Why? You never hit the record button. Let’s take this time to agree whoever created the Zoom H4n led an unhappy life and wanted you to, too. Hit record…twice? …TWICE? Why not make the selling point:
“GUARANTEED TO TRICK YOU AT LEAST ONCE”
5. PHONE TAG…WITH ME, MYSELF & I – We’ve all been there that it starts to feel like the universe just doesn’t want you to get your story done. You’ve called, e-mailed, tweeted, texted, messaged, and stalked your sources far past the point of acceptable. It’s an understandable stress when you can only claim you’re reporting on behalf of a class project. But now you’re representing a news organization, something real and reputable. Don’t they understand how important this is to you?!
Or worse, they did the unthinkable and strung you along by not only responding right away but also several times and with interest! Only to never be heard from again. Ever. Seriously, should you be worried? You send semi-professional, pleading, follow-up e-mails. Stop doing that, it’s a little sad and getting you nowhere.
6. CHOSE JOURNALISM FOR ADVENTURE, SPENDS MORE TIME ON A COMPUTER THAN COMPUTER SCIENCE FRIENDS – If you’re anything like me, you got into journalism because to you it’s closer to a calling than career. Everyone can tell you it’s a dying industry but you don’t care because you’re going to tell stories that inspire people to care more about the world they live in and bring a grown man to tears.
So why does it feel like you have no social life, a week scheduled around interviews convenient to everyone’s agenda apart from your own, and an early case of hunchback from sitting in front of a computer for more hours than you’ve slept in the last three nights?
Transcribing, scripting, researching, writing, editing, designing, it’s a one-man-band these days for journalists and there’s a lot expected of you from pitching to producing. You’ve napped on keyboards and whined to your mom but when the story is finally finished, you can’t help but feel pretty damn proud of what you did. Your sources retweet links, people you’ve never met share it on Facebook, and there’s something terrifically special about your name being in the byline.
7. YOUR EDITORS ARE BULLIES – There’s nothing quite like sitting beside your J
School professor/editor with your latest story between you. Constructively critical words like “terrible”, “never again”, “why?”, “says who?”, “who cares?”, and “start over”, have your palms sweating in anticipation before you’re even seated.
You’ve spent hours reworking stories, calling sources back for more information and chiseling your story down to a publishable piece of work you’re so over, your first reaction is to start complaining when friends and family praise it. Yet when the final draft is approved and your editor gives that smile you know means you’re done and free at last, you resist the urge to squeeze them into a hug because they’re the ones that kept relentlessly pushing you to make it great.
8. YOU’RE THE HARDEST WORKER YOU KNOW – No one wants to hear it and you annoy yourself thinking it, but when everyone else is day drinking and you knew to bring your own ear buds to the J School because the heavy headphones start to hurt your ears a few hours into audio/video editing, take a deep breath and carry on. This is what you’re here for after all.
The Missouri Method in definition is real-world media experience as part of our curriculum.
But that’s not really what it is. The Missouri Method is making as many mistakes as you possibly can for as long as you are a part of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. It’s rare that a story goes predominantly well from start to finish, and from that I’ve learned countless lessons paired with embarrassing stories and enormous pride in knowing that I’m making it in one of the world’s most respected journalism schools.
Some days are overwhelmingly stressful. Some days you walk home with a smile on your face, feeling validated that this is the right school, right career choice for you. You don’t have to be perfect, not even close, but if you have passion then there’s no better choice than M I Z…