How to be a student journalist


On Jan. 24, I sat in a room packed full of journalists. Mentors, reporters, editors and students filled the grand ballroom in the DoubleTree in Bloomington, Minnesota. We sat in the back, a table of excited students, inspiring mentors and prized journalists. I looked at them, and all of the surrounding people, and wondered how can I reach that tier of greatness? How did they get past being a student and a journalist?

The life we live as student journalists is a hectic one. We make promises to our audience that we’ll give them the news they want to read. We make promises to our professors that we’ll turn in our homework and make it to class on time. We make promises to our employers that we’ll be at work, ready to work.

As someone who’s made these promises for three years, I can tell you it’s hard. It means we lose on sleep, hours at work, and bonding time with friends. We find time to hang out with our friends, but far and few between our busy schedules. I made coffee plans with a friend and asked her to invite me via Google Calendar. My life is nearly scheduled down to 15 minute increments.

But that doesn’t stop us. As student journalists, we still work every night until the stars shine, coming to school every morning before the sun rises. We write stories as often as we can, trying to get something published every day.

Our audience might not be aware of the hours we put in to make sure they receive the most accurate, relevant news, but that doesn’t matter to us. We will remain passionate about journalism. We will read our email chains from the Washington Post, the New York Times and CNN. We will transform the information our sources tell us into thoughtful, well-constructed sentences.

I don’t have an actual step-by-step guide on how to be a student journalist. I don’t think we have figured it out for ourselves yet. I learn every day how to interact with our student audience. One thing’s for sure, I’m a student. We are all students, then we are journalists. Please go to class.

VoicesSamantha Church