Opinion: My journey @TheReview
I sat down to write this before deadline and I don’t know what to say. So, here is what’s on my mind.
I feel like I have been challenged these past two years. I learned the importance of meeting a deadline, reaching out to sources, as well as journalistic ethics, how to write an intriguing lede, AP style and how to collaborate with others.
I joined The Review in April 2017, a little over two years ago. I was a bit scared of the people who worked there. Actually, I think I was more intimidated than anything. Why? Because they are all smart, literate and determined writers. I had only written a handful of essays in high school. Hell, I barely read the newspaper. But, for some reason I felt a sense of belonging.
The dusty upstairs of the Perkins West Annex we call home to The Review became a collaborative space for drinking Dunkin’ coffee and pitching new stories. For my first story, Margaret Mcnamara sent me to Captain Blue Hen Comics on E. Main Street. Before I embarked on this story, I put on a baseball hat and looked up a few interviewing techniques on Google — I didn’t completely wing this. I mean, how could I mess up a story about comic books?
I still laugh about that because I walked around aimlessly with a pen and pad of paper asking fans if I could interview them. It was a strange experience and honestly Catwoman creeped me out. I think the importance to come out of this story was more than covering a comic book event — it was the beginning of my journey for the next two years.
I fell in love with the thrill of reporting, so I decided to stay on and apply for a position as a sports reporter. I want to give credit here to Ken and Mike who told me the power of the press pass was pretty awesome because they didn’t lie.
Throughout the fall, I continued to write sports articles almost every week. Teddy Gelman would pitch ideas up in the West Annex, and after ed-board we would go down to the WVUD lounge and watch football and finish writing our weekend sports story that almost always took place on Saturday night. I am blessed to have had the guidance of Teddy and Brandon on the sports team. I became a better writer because of them. However, no one ever told me that the press box got so cold in November — I learned that lesson on my own.
Again, I felt like a change was in order after the semester, so I became the Opinion Editor. It’s not a glamorous position. I don’t report and write every week. However, I have been the students’ voice per se. I take op-ed submissions and letters to the editor and review them to be sent to our copy desk and then placed in the paper every week. I am proud that for the first time, I was able to put out an opinion section every week. I have done a lot behind the scenes too with putting up the E-newspaper on the website, week in and week out, and always making sure our editorial went up online.
I wrote a few opinion pieces along the way, but this year has been difficult for me. Just like every other student journalist, I get bogged down with essays, classes, exams and other extracurriculars. It’s hard to do this stuff, I’m not gonna lie. There are times when writing is tough — sources don’t always come through, the story doesn’t turn out as originally intended or an exam doesn’t go your way so it affects your mental state and desire to continue writing a story. I’ve been there and I’m sure many others have been as well.
I enter my senior year of college with the burden of figuring out my life. However, I do know that I will be forever grateful that The Review has given me a home away from home.
To Ryan Barwick, Margaret McNamara, Teddy Gelman, Ken Chang, Mike Henretty,
Thank you for welcoming me two years ago. Margaret, you introduced me to The Review in the first place with a simple Facebook post. Ryan, I’ve known you since our days playing backyard football at the Doherty’s house and the first shoutout after my first article made a huge difference. Teddy, I am blessed to have reported with you and to have broadcasted games at WVUD together. Ken and Mike, you both were always supportive of me and my work and for that I am grateful.
Caleb, the copy desk and the entire staff,
Thank you for a final year at the paper. I may never report again, but I will forever have the memories of the West Annex. I know things will be in good hands with Jacob and Mitchell next year, but Caleb you did a great job revamping the paper and being a leader here. Copy (Leighton and Ryan), I apologize for almost always sending submissions to you late before deadline. It just happens like that.