Jou Nerdin

Student-run publications give and take a lot

November 8, 2013

Journalism requires experience. Student-run publications provide the best experience. Internships are the next level, of course. But it’s fun to know you created something from scratch — something that’s yours. Making friends with those who created it alongside you is even more fun.

If you read my last blog post, you read I visited New Orleans. That was thanks to DoNorth, SUNY Plattsburgh’s student-run tourism magazine. It funded the trip, so we could return as better journalists. I’m the magazine’s deputy editor. I feel pretty effing cool. As my adviser Luke Cyphers always says, “Yessenia’s drunk with power!” (I’m actually not, but I’m kind of cool, so I guess.)

However, being deputy editor takes quite a toll. Sleep is a forgotten friend. Studying sits at the end of my to-do list. I might have failed my biology test today. It’s tiring.

Angry designers release their withheld wrath on frustrated editors. Frustrated editors must sit down and work with novice writers. However, learning and teaching is the point, right?

DoNorth is reaching the end of this issue’s publication, so shit is getting real, man. We publish once a semester, so most of the semester is relaxing. Once production starts nearing the end, though, it’s no joke.

Stories need sources that writers failed to include. Finding and including those sources are my job. As deputy editor, I must ensure the best possible stories go into the magazine.

It’s tiring as hell, but I love it. Classes teach lots, but they don’t provide the field experience journalism demands. Some classes do, but most kids whine and bitch about it. It’s kind of annoying.

That’s my favorite part about working for a publication: the lack of whining. Students who dedicate time to the publication care about it. They care about their career, and they take themselves seriously. Experience does that. It teaches you more about yourself, especially when you realize you’re better at something than you thought.

Even when people do whine, even when things aren’t fun and I find myself dozing off during Intro to Statistics due to my lack of sleep, working for a student publication is worth it. Journalism isn’t depicted in the most positive light nowadays. Some articles say newspaper reporters are the worst jobs of the year. Luckily, I want to write for magazines (whose prospects are slightly brighter), but I have friends who aspire to write for newspapers.

That’s why practicum experience is important (and needed). You want to be a journalist? Find a publication and write for it. Have some clips stored. If you can land an internship, do that, too.

It’s almost 2 a.m. I’m sitting in the Do North Office while Pandora plays Wu-Tang Clan, and a friend is working next door in our campus newspaper, Cardinal Points, office. (I write for them, too. More clips never hurt.) I just emailed about five sources, and it’s OK. I’m finally heading home to some late-night munchies, an online quiz and my bed.

It could be worse. I could end up unemployed, but I won’t. (At least I hope not. That would suck major balls.) And it’s all because of student-run publications. So if you enjoy writing, quit hiding that talent in your diary. Join campus media: newspapers, magazines, radio or even TV. The things you learn and the bonds you build are forever.

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