Why I’m a student journalist

When I tell my friends I’m only taking two courses I usually get a response like “aw man, you’re so lucky”. But then I tell them I work 60 hours a week, often into obscure hours of the morning and sometimes even on 24 hour binges — all for an honoraria that roughly equals $3 an hour.

Typically that warrants no response — and rightfully so.

Journalism — and specifically student journalism — is a lifestyle, not an occupation. It’s tiring, stressful and fast pace, with little compensation. It’s impractical.

So why have I sold my soul to The Journal?

It’s a fundamental question that I’ve struggled with for a while now. As I ponder on it now, the reason is actually quite simple.

It gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.

My interest in journalism started in high school where I founded a biannual school sports magazine. My high school seriously lacked athletic talent, but even more so, it lacked any passion from the student body. 

I created that magazine not with the intention of doing serious reporting, but because I wasn’t satisfied with apathy.

I wanted to do something different — I wanted to give myself to a cause that didn’t have any implications for my academic career.

I wanted to feel what it was like to do something impractical.

The same fundamental idea has stayed with me during my time at The Journal.

Some student journalists will say they do it to keep their student body informed on major issues, while others may say it serves as a critique of the University. 

But I find those arguments naïve. The only media criticism the University responds to is from a national media source and campuses are so rampant with student apathy you could shove a newspaper in someone’s face and they still won’t care about campus issues.

So the best answer I’ve come up with is its impractical nature. It challenges me to be better in every issue, and even with the belief that it’s impossible I never want to stop pushing to become relevant.

Regardless of whether you hear my voice or not, or even care that we have a newspaper, I’m putting out something that I’m proud to take credit for. That’s reason enough for me and any other student journalist to do this job.

Jacob is The Journal’s News Editor. He’s a third-year English major. 

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