Last week I had my first experience as a “professional” journalist. Okay, professional may be a bit of an overstatement, but my writing was published officially for the very first time. During my first week at BU, I joined The Daily Free Press, an independent student run newspaper. At BU there are so many student run newspapers, magazines and publications available for students to join but The Daily Free Press caught my eye, as it came across as very professional and as a great place to begin my career as a journalist.
Last week, I wrote my first article that was published on the website. (Check out the link on my “published writing” tab!)
Planning and writing this article was probably one of the most stressful and rewarding tasks I’ve ever completed. I had a few days to track down my sources, get resident quotes and write up my article. My article was on the recent supreme court dismissal on five states seeking same sex marriage. Not to mention the fact that this is an extremely controversial topic, it also demanded many important sources. I was excited and nervous to complete my first task as a writer and reporter.
Day 1: I had the privilege to speak to some very important and knowledgable people on the subject, people whose beliefs ranged from conservative to liberal. This was very interesting and challenging, as I had to be sure to take a very objective stance on the matter, despite my own beliefs, and gather information from the sources that I felt was the most valuable to my story. Each person I spoke to (sources can be identified in my article) was extremely passionate about the subject of same-sex marriage, which I found as very eye opening considering same-sex marriage can often be a taboo topic of conversation.
Day 2: This, by far, was the most stressful and challenging day yet, which I had not anticipated. In every story we write, we must speak to 4-5 Boston residents about our article, and get one quote from each of them on their opinions, beliefs or ideas on the topic of our article. I guess I should have anticipated that such a controversial topic would pose as a barrier to residents really opening up. I wandered around Kenmore Square for a couple of hours, speaking to passerby’s and asking them to contribute. Understandingly, most people were not comfortable providing their opinion so publicly on such a controversial matter, or they did not want to give their full name. After a few minor freak-outs had passed, I finally gathered enough quotes to include in my article.
Day 3: Finally, I had gathered enough sources and residents quotes to begin writing my article. Thankfully, after the stress of quote gathering, writing my article came naturally and was a very smooth process. I felt that through speaking to my sources and reading other articles on the issue, I had a firm understanding on the topic and felt comfortable writing about it. I finished my article by my deadline and sent it in feeling nervous and excited.
Seeing my article published online with my name on it a few days later was possibly one of the most exciting and rewarding feelings. I felt like my hard work paid off and I proved to myself for the first time that I have the ability to survive in such a demanding industry. I’m excited to tackle more (hopefully less stressful!) articles in the future both at The Daily Free Press and anywhere else my writing may take me!