I returned from the National College Media Convention last night, refreshed and ready to write, with at least forty newspapers from other colleges to examine. I learned the importance of taking notes, for I would’ve never been able to remember everything.
I had the opportunity not just to learn, but to listen to two keynote speakers: Hugh Aynesworth–the only person to witness JFK’s assassination, Oswald’s arrest and murder–and Bob Schieffer, of CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Even though I’m not a news junkie (go figure), I enjoyed their speeches very much.
Bob Schieffer had a few pieces of advice for us (which one could apply to any vocation):
- Be on time. Because I don’t have my own transportation, I’ve chosen to show up to work an hour early, rather than take the chance of being late. And what do I do for that hour? I’m writing, studying, and being productive.
- Answer the phone. This is something I need to work on. I have a cheap cell phone (i.e. the kind you’d find in a dumpster), but I keep the ringer turned off most of the time–especially since it went off in class once.
- Don’t be looking at your phone while crossing the street. I never do this, much less drive while talking on it, but, considering I hate talking on it anyway, it’s not much of a sacrifice.
Schieffer went on to say that journalism is a service. I’d never thought of journalism quite that way–I’d always seen it as more of a product to be consumed.
He went on to talk about fake news, making sure to include examples from both sides. He was very charming, and so was his story about why he always wears purple socks. If you care about the answer, google it (as I didn’t catch every detail and don’t want to be accused of disseminating fake news.)
Mr. Aynesworth’s advice was to always have a pen and paper with you because you never know what’s going to happen. When he was at the Kennedy assassination, he grabbed a pen from a stranger and used two utility bills in his pocket to take notes.
I just learned that lesson myself recently, when I had to take notes at a Philosophy Club meeting. I was all the way in the building before I realized I had nothing to write on. I managed to grab a couple of outdated fliers from the bulletin boards (though I did have a pen or twenty). Even though I had my laptop, I will always scribble my notes in a notebook first. Here is a good reason why: http://www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away
So, I have about twenty pages of scribbles to transcribe (and maybe translate). One complaint was, at least for one session, was that the speakers left too much time open for questions. I’m there to listen to the speaker, not to those who ask lame-ass Captain Obvious questions just because they want to talk and be seen.
As glamorous as the hard news is, it will never be me. When it comes to being in the loop, I’m always a day late and several dollars short, so I’m the go-to girl when it comes to features. I like having the time to write, edit, and polish my stories, and I don’t like crowds.
So, I brought back an extra dose of self-motivation–not just for writing copy, but also for photography and graphic design. I sought not just to become better at what I’m already good at, but at those other things that interest me, nonetheless.
What’s more, I realized how grateful I am to belong to a school that invests in their students–not just through scholarships, but through opportunities like these, which have enriched my college experience immensely.