Journalist ponders harsh economic realities, the future, and the fate of the luddite

I have had many dark, uncertain moments in the last few years: moments in which I have questioned my career path as a writer, second-guessed my dedication to an evolving industry, and challenged my assumptions that I’m resourceful and capable enough to make it in a world where things change quickly and so must I. Often, during these moments, I pick up a book. I go to a coffee shop and rummage through a wastebasket (the final resting place for everything ephemeral, once loved, now useless) for a newspaper or  magazine. I open my laptop and reflexively summon a blog or news site (On the Ground by Nick Kristof is a favorite). With these, I re-discover my center. The written word is the most exciting, powerful thing in my life, and I care for it deeply. Whatever I do in life, I want it to revolve around the manipulation of words and ideas, the dissemination of news and events, and the promulgation of thoughts and wisdom through print.

This love for the written word, coupled with a curiosity for the world around me and an intense fondness for storytelling and narrative, is what compels me to study journalism. But knowing my way around a word processor is not the only skill I will need to become a successful reporter. Though I am gregarious and comfortable meeting new people by nature, I am not necessarily the best interviewer, especially when distracting gear such as a video camera/voice recorder are added to the equation. I also understand that multimedia proficiency is an indispensable tool for composing stories online, and I would love to become more comfortable using newfangled contrivances like the Nikon Zi8 to publish my stories. I am also eager to hone my audio and video editing proficiency so I might quickly turn around my raw footage for online or radio publication. I hope to learn many of these skills in Digital News Gathering, or during the course of my academic career at SFSU, but am willing to attain these skills as an un-paid or low-paid intern for a non-profit news organization when and if I can find the right fit for me.

My dream job as a reporter would probably involve reporting on environmental/ human rights issues, or stories involving human sexuality and the LGBTQ community. These are issues and areas of study that I am well versed and interested in, and would gladly devote my publication ambitions towards.

As far as what I see myself doing for a living 5 years from now, that’s anyone’s guess. Obviously, I’d like to see myself gainfully employed as a freelance writer at a magazine like Mother Jones or Vice or Newsweek by then, or perhaps editing an arts & culture/event website like Flavorpill. But who knows. Maybe I’ll be serving people coffee or making sandwiches instead. Not ideal, but neither are the economic realities and career setbacks for many of our nation’s recent college graduates. But we’ll see what the future holds for me and my ilk. For now, I’m content simply to live well and learn from the people around me, and prepare myself for what will hopefully be an exciting semester in Digital News Gathering!

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