Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life as a Journalist

Dear World,

Here I sit. Stuck on my Public Relations homework, because I spent the week living it up and not doing my homework. So instead of writing a paper about public relations, I decided to write about journalism on my blog.

I had the opportunity for a couple months this summer to write for the music column of my school's paper as a job-class thing.

Let me provide more background why:

In the Communications PR emphasis, it is required of every PR major to contribute to BYU's newspaper, The Universe (formerly known as The Daily Universe) for 3 credit hours. 

WTF, why????

Well, public relations practitioners used to be called "journalists in residence" back in the 40s-50s-60s. In addition to that, when you do media relations in public relations, journalists become your gatekeepers of information, your best friends in business. And not to mention PR people are expected to be REALLY GOOD writers.

Needless to say, there are many good reasons.

Since there aren't enough altruistic journalist majors to fill up the news lab every semester or term, throwing in a few PR people can't hurt, right?

Well, every PR major that went through the Daily Universe class made jokes about how it only puts a few gray hairs on your head, how abysmal it was, and how it's essentially hell personified in the form of a lab compared to the rest of the other communications courses.

So I decided to take the class and write Summer Term with the reasoning that only two months of hell was obviously a better decision than four months.

But at the end of the day, to be completely honest, I loved the class.

Yes, it was freaking hard. Yes, I lost my social life. Yes, I only had four or five panic attacks about producing my articles on time. Yes, the rest of my life was put on hold. Yes, you could argue I sold my soul to the paper.

But as I gave up my life to it, I found my soul in it.
The Universe was good to me and for me, here's why:

(1) I learned how to control my panic attacks. I was so organized and nit-picky about having everything succeed and happen that sometimes I would make myself sick and couldn't breathe. The first few weeks I recall having one panic attack a week because a source did not work out and I couldn't get an article completed at the time my editor wanted it. But after I had the panic attack, something or someone would come along and it would work itself out. The article would get completed, often better than how I thought it would.

I learned to accept that the interviews didn't happen on my schedule, but on others. I learned to trust people to call me when I needed them. I learned to rely on God and have him help me make things happen when my agenda did not work. I learned to accept chaos, to wait for an hour and play on Pinterest while I waited for my interviewee from California to call. I decided it was ok that everything was not working with my ideals. And as soon as I learned that with the paper, I realized that was ok with the rest of my life too. I learned to be happy again.

(2) I got my foot back into what I'm passionate about. Writing the music column affirmed my decision with  my major. The last two or three years I felt like a lost wanderer, roaming my way through the ghostly halls of the business school, wondering if what I was doing would even make me happy. And then I would go into the concert halls and question why I wasn't taking to the stage anymore. I had strong confirmations in earlier years of college that music wasn't right, business wasn't quite right, but for some reason communications was.

In my heart I knew I wanted to become the middle man for musicians and businessmen because I can, really well, but I started to believe that I might not get back into music.

It wasn't until I jumped in and told my editor I was passionate about music, claimed the title of music columnist, and starting interviewing members of the music industry that it all began to feel right again. It opened the door for doing business now, I met with record labels and artists that are now turning to me to help them with music marketing and PR. I am eternally grateful for the networking my journalism job gave me.

(3) It reminded me that I'm doing the right thing in my career. See above paragraphs.

(4) I met incredible people and learned incredible things from interviewing them. I learned so much about living, about music, about stuff I knew nothing about because I had to write about it. I discovered new things and got out of my comfort zone.

(5) I became a better writer.

I will look back at my two months of insanity and be grateful that it not only helped me learn to be happy in life when things are not "perfect," but also how it propelled me to move forward and to continue pursuing my dreams. The future looks golden again. Music will become a reality, my reality, I know it now.

Read my articles here.

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