I love days like today. Days where it’s 40 degrees outside but after the sub-zero temperatures of the past month it feels like spring. Days when you find a clothing sale happening in the Mizzou Store and grab a MIZ SEC T-shirt for a mere $5. Days when you’re in a super positive mood for no reason. Days when all of your favorite sans-“Frozen” songs play on the Disney Pandora station as you procrastinate from studying for your geology test next week. Days when you have a hoard of the new cookie dough Oreo cookies stocked in your dorm. Days when you’re finally recovering from a cold that has been plaguing your immune system for the past week and a half. Days when you don’t care that you’re once again going to be single on Valentine’s Day because you have friends you can watch “The Princess Bride” and stuff your face with. Days when you find yourself walking down Rollins street with a spring in your step, inspired.
Today is a good day. Today I am absolutely inspired by journalism.
Lately I’ve been constantly busy with my duties at The Maneater. Between my beat, my column, and picking up the occasional pitch for MOVE, I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with the workload. Often I’ve found myself sitting in my lounge, working on a story, and venting my frustrations aloud to the people who are unfortunate enough to be in my vicinity.
“I hate journalism. I’m so sick of it. Only crazy people want to do this as a career,” I’d say. Or maybe something more along the lines of, “Everybody here is so obsessed with journalism. Their lives revolve around it and I don’t want my life to revolve around my career. I don’t want journalism to be my life.” Then I’d proceed to begin my writing ritual: complain how the story I’ve been assigned is boring, procrastinate on calling sources, freak out about interviews, bang my head against my desk (sometimes literally), stay up late writing a story I’m convinced is complete shit, and grimace as I email it to my editor.
But through all the complaining, through all the stress, through all the time consumption, there is nothing I want to do more in this world than journalism.
I want to write. I want to tell stories. There’s nothing like pouring your heart and soul out into a piece and seeing it in print. It’s an incredible rush, there’s no better feeling than knowing that you were the one who created it.
Today I went to journalism class. J1100: Principles of American Journalism, a class taught by my favorite professor I’ve had since beginning college. She’s worked as a reporter and editor at the St. Petersburg Times, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. This woman is an inspiration. She has so many stories from her time in the field about giving a voice to the voiceless, telling the stories of people whose stories would never be told otherwise, serving the public good. Even her simple motto of “Don’t Panic!” inspires- it’s exactly what I need to hear every week as I’m continuously hit by waves of work.
Today, we were told to know the definition of journalism: “Journalism is a set of transparent, independent procedures aimed at gathering, verifying and reporting truthful information of consequence to citizens in a democracy.” (Write it, memorize it, do it!) She showed us a video of Bob Woodward giving advice on reporting and offered a bit of advice herself (“If you remember nothing else from this class, make it this: get your ass out of the chair and check it out!“) After sitting through her lectures, I leave feeling motivated to write and create.
Today’s lecture only reinforced the journalism high I’ve been riding since yesterday when I interviewed Frank Pavich, the director of a documentary called “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” for a MOVE story. “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is one of the films coming to the True/False Film Festival in a few weeks. True/False is a film festival that is based out of Columbia, where some of the year’s best documentaries are shown, there are panels held with the creators, and there are secret screenings.
I could practically feel the excitement and passion radiating off of Pavich during our Skype interview. He was nothing short of giddy when he spoke about this film he had invested three years of his life into making and how “totally incredible” it was for it to be included in True/False. It was the best interview I’ve had in a long time. I loved speaking with this man. I loved writing about him and the success he’s been having with “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”
There’s nothing like the rush you get from a great interview and a quality story. The feature I wrote for “Jodorowsky’s Dune” rejuvenated the passion I’ve had for journalism since I was a sophomore in high school taking the Introduction to Newspaper class. I’m a storyteller, it’s what I was born to do. I am in love with journalism.
And no matter how much I might mutter “I hate journalism” under my breath as sources don’t call me back or when I have to somehow cut 300 words from my story, seeing my name bolded in that byline every Wednesday is worth it.