Well…it’s a start.
So for at least the past few years, I’ve been part of that large and pitiful club of Undergrad Aspiring Journalists. It’s the same old deal: I write for my college newspaper, I know what gonzo journalism is, my heroes include Nicholas Kristof, Ronan Farrow, and Jeremy Scahill, and I often don’t see the point of differentiating press releases from lengthy, crass op-eds.
Okay, so maybe this is just the lament of an Undergrad Aspiring Journalist who doesn’t actually go to journalism school. Really, though, what can The Denver Post teach me that Geoffrey Chaucer can’t?
Or more accurately, what do I actually want to get out of journalism that I can’t go out and get myself? That’s the question that’s been teasing my bees for a few weeks now, and it eventually occurred to me to go investigate things on my own, rather than bend over backwards so some boss can tell me what to investigate, probably some hungry World Cup player or celebrity colonoscopy.
Also, one article I found by Dorie Clark about tips for aspiring journalists had some useful insights. (Way better than a different article by Jenna Goodreau: “One good option for young, aspiring journalists is to get in the door at a wire service like the Associated Press or Dow Jones.” Oh yeah, I’ll just go do that Jenna.) Dorie says it pretty straight: if you want to be a journalist in this age, understand that journalists lose jobs every day, and newspapers die every week. So throw away all the back-to-the-good-ol-days, purity crap. You either do it all or don’t do it at all. You have to sell yourself: sell your writing, sell your knowledge, sell your social media network, sell your audiovisual skills, and–this is where I draw the line–sell your voice.
Don’t touch my voice.
So this is where I’ve arrived. With a pen and paper and trusty new iPhone 5c (the yellow plastic one), I started gathering shots and stories. For this project, I interviewed four people, but I didn’t manage to film any of those interviews. Stay tuned for some actual interview footage in my next project!
This Denver Light Rail project was more practice than anything, and I’ll be shocked and flattered if you watch it. It was a ton of fun to make, and on top of facts about the Light Rail, it quickly taught me that journalism doesn’t have to be a profession, it can be a hobby. And I think that’s wonderful.