Opinion: Five reasons you should join journalism

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Jack Weaver

Learning the basics of photography, a journalism student practices operating a camera at a summer Herff Jones STL Yearbook Camp at De Smet Jesuit High School. Multiple camps are held each year for journalism students to hear from professionals.

Jack Weaver, Digital Media Editor

Since my freshman year, I’ve found myself reporting, filming and producing stories. As I count down the days to graduation, I encourage students who have a passion for storytelling to join the journalism program.

1) This isn’t a typical class

Journalism courses are unlike any other class at Lafayette. There’s a reason we are staff members and not classmates. Although journalism classes function as a normal class would in regards to scheduling and credit, being on a journalism staff gives students the freedom to create their own work. On staff, students are given assignments and deadlines by their fellow student editors who help them in the process of creating content. And while we have the best teacher at Lafayette, Smith is considered our adviser. Her job is not to tell us what to do, but to advise us on how to do it.

2) Experience high school in a new way

Being on staff, you may find yourself taking pictures or video on the floor of an assembly or sideline of a sports game, interviewing students, administrators or government officials, or at the scene of breaking news. Your press pass will give you access you will have never had otherwise.

3) Build a resume

As you produce content, whether it be online or in the Image or Legend, you are building your resume of professional work. This portfolio is a great resource as you prepare for college or even your first career. In addition, the work you produce can be entered in local, state and national contests.

4) Food and field trips

Although we have plenty of work to do, there is no shortage of fun. Every week, we hold a “block party” during the blocked class on “B” or “C” Days, in which someone brings in a plethora of snacks or homemade desserts. In addition, we travel to the National High School Journalism Convention each year. In the past, this convention has been held in Chicago, Nashville, Orlando and Washington, D.C. These trips give staffers the opportunity to attend sessions to hear from professionals about how to improve their journalistic work and generate new ideas. At the same time, these trips are some of the best memories of my time in high school. And while it’s not a good idea to join a journalism staff solely for the food or trips, I can assure you that you won’t go hungry on staff.

5) Prepare for the real world

Our publication operates as a public forum and per Rockwood policy, “student editors and responsible student staff members assume complete legal and financial liability for the content of the publication.” This being said, the work done on our staffs is real stuff. Students experience what the world outside Lafayette is truly like as they report, interview and sell ads. Working on a team to meet a deadline, you’ll improve your skills in communication, problem-solving, time management and more. And while I’m sure your typical math or science class is loads of fun, something about getting out into the real world and doing work that makes a difference is so much more appealing.

If you’re interested in joining a community of student journalists, sign up to take a prerequisite course, Writing & Reporting or Visual Journalism, or visit Room 137A.