I have yet to share this news here, but I am honored to announce that I landed an editorial internship this summer at the biggest newspaper in my home state. When I had been looking for internships over the summer, this particular place was always the one I was hoping for, but I was getting myself anxious over every opportunity I could find knowing that I all I needed was one person to say, “yes, we want you.” Luckily the one yes I received is at my ideal spot.
A part about this job is that yes, it’s at a newspaper, but I am actual working under the city columnist. I expected to do news reporting, but by all strokes of grace, I get to dive into a position I can thrive in.
Going into journalism, you’d expect me to be all about news. You see journalists on the frontlines, at press conferences, and lately, being torn apart over accuracy or lack of. But I’ve tried traditional reporting, and while I can do it, it’s not what I love. It feels forced to me. I don’t typically write with an intent to share hard-breaking news.
I have to come to see my unique writing voice now as an old friend. I know where it thrives and where it loses ground. It thrives when it has the freedom to really express itself. I almost feel selfish in that it’s harder for me to share the thoughts of others than my own. I wonder if I could be using my voice more wisely, to lend my voice to the voiceless.
What gives me the right to give my opinion anyways? We take such harsh stances on issues that any attempt to give an opposing opinion is a lost cause. When we see opinion as something that is stagnant, that is stubbornly where it is and any attempt to force that in another direction will inevitably lead to failure.
I see opinion writing in another way. I see it as that necessary olive branch to make my thoughts something that is approachable and less preachy. I never write to shove ideas down others’ throats because I hate when people do that to me and know it does no good.
An opinion gives a personal perspective on an otherwise straightforward news story. Yes, we need those to report the facts and share the stories of people on the scene. But we also need people to interpret that from another angle. To give a name and face to a writer aiming to engage in a healthy debate, a skill we’ve certainly lost sight of using.
Not all opinions are ground-breaking. How often do I talk on here about very random topics? But I’m not assigned these ideas. When I see a stroke of inspiration somewhere, an opportunity to shed light on something, I take it. And the words just flow. I’m not putting myself necessarily in a box of writing a certain way that might get a point across in the least words as possible, but it’s not for me.
Especially being in a journalism program, I’ve learned a lot about news reporting. That is where you need to start before going into column writing. Learning how to write columns almost feels like an afterthought, a deviation off the main path for those actively seeking it out. Despite my preferences, I do think that a well-rounded education, especially in an ever-changing world like media, you need to taste every area that’s out there. I may be bold in saying that column writing to me feels like a lost art. There are very established columnists out there, but actually getting into it is intimidating.
But I know that of all the formal, professional places for me to be, a column is just that. I ramble. I make at times too many metaphors. I feel like a broken record sometimes even. Nonetheless, I put everything I have into my writing. Some people feel the same way about news reporting, poetry, screenwriting, or maybe all of the above. (If that is the case, I am a tad jealous.) But for me, this is where I feel I can shine.
I cannot say enough how blessed I am to spend twelve weeks this summer getting paid to learn and grow more in this specific area. I have been in other workplaces in the past, but I see this as a true opportunity to apply directly what I learn into everything I do at school and on this blog. This is only the beginning.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie