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Value of College Newspaper Experience

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Eagleboy, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. prhack

    prhack Member

    Ace hit it right on the head. I wouldn't trade my experience working for the campus newspaper for anything in the world. Echoing what others have said, I got to do a little bit of everything and made friends that have lasted a lifetime. It was fun being a part of something and feeling like we were "sticking it to the man," whether the man realized it or not. The fact that I also got to use the office computers for my schoolwork when all I had was a typewriter was just a bonus (nothing like printing out a 15-page report on the finest quality laser paper the institution could afford!)

    Oddly enough, the experience I got in college was actually better than my internship in many respects. As an editor for the college paper, I got my first taste of desktop publishing at a time when the local daily was still gallying out copy for someone to paste up in the back. That experience paid dividends at every subsequent stop along the way.

    That said, nothing can match the experience of an internship at a daily, any daily, and if you've got a chance to get your foot in the door, by all means do it. I piled up a ton of bylines and got my first real deadline experience in the process. Made some great friends there as well.

    My only advice would be whatever you do, don't forget to have fun. I spent every weekend my senior year banging out copy for the local rag, and although the experience was a good one, I still regret all the good times I didn't get to have as a result.
  2. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    My college paper was a shitload better than a lot of papers I have worked for.

    Carry on.
  3. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Same with me. Don't underestimate that advantage.
  4. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    The problem here is the overemphasis on the meaning of internships.

    Some people realize they'll spend decades in the working world but only 4 years in college. Why not enjoy the college years while they're there?

    I've seen good interns, bad interns and interns who may as well not even have been there. A good hiring editor should be able to separate those people in less than 3 months.

    Again, it's newspapers taking the lazy way out and then clinging to that pattern.
  5. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    I understand that, but a) I didn't miss anything socially because I worked on my career while in college; and b) there's no way I would have gotten my foot in the door at a 100K daily out of college had I not wrangled the right internship.
  6. Internships are nice, but more often than not you'll be coddled, coached, etc. within an inch of your life or worse, given nothing to do. However, the contacts can certainly help you down the line.
    At the college paper, it's up to you. You're given more responsibility, won't be coddled and unfortunately, coached. It's where you find out if you can really hack it or not. I had the luxury of working with some of the hardest working, passionate and talented sportswriters in the country. The best two years of my life and I often wish I hadn't waited so long (beginning of Sr. year part A) to get involved.
    Now at my 4th gig and that's still the best staff I ever worked with.
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