Last year, I didn’t even consider journalism. Now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I began a journalism internship with TheCelebrityCafe.com, an online newspaper dedicated to celebrity, international, and entertainment news. I wrote 70 articles in a range of genres, including news, top 10 lists, biographies, CD reviews, and interviews. Perhaps the most exciting assignment was interviewing world-class violinist David Garrett, a German child prodigy whose carefree nature and hard-core determination inspired me as I interviewed him on his life goals and musical talent.
I never imagined I would get into journalism, much less sign up for this internship that got my articles on Google Top News with over 3,000 views on topics such as Jimmy Fallon, the Oscars, and the Winter Olympics.
As a junior English Literature & Writing major, I have been determined to publish children’s fantasy novels ever since elementary school. But with the dilemma of the English major—should I go into creative writing, or should I get a job in tech writing and make money?—my mother encouraged me to consider a professional venue. Journalism seemed to me the next closest thing to what an English major does. We both tell stories. We make use of words in creative ways to send a message.
So I signed up for the minor and began my journalism classes. I had already developed the foundation of creative writing with Professor Judy Hougen’s classes and Amy McCann’s Writer’s Style, and these have been invaluable in fashioning my diction and smoothing out my rhythm. But with journalism, I have bettered my writing. My sentences are no longer the twelve-paragraph chunks I’ve hammered down for the past two years. I’ve cut out lengthy phrases, chiseled my verbs, and made stronger, faster, more vivid diction.
I understand that for most English majors, journalism seems to be the driest, plainest way to tell stories with little or no emotion whatsoever. But for me, it is a way to become a better novelist. When I scribble in my journal or practice my creative writing, I get to the point clearly. I’m sharper because of journalism.
It is also a means of helping me get out of my introverted, writing-major cocoon that likes to burrow in libraries all day. Meeting new people and hearing their stories has helped me become a better communicator and more confident person.
I can honestly say that journalism combined with my English Literature & Writing degree has been one of the best things for me as a writer. I hope to continue more as I graduate and step into my dream of writing children’s fantasy novels.