Finding Purpose In the Publication
By Emma Duncan--Eagle Editor
Although Eagle staff members only meet during first period and every other activity period, some committed news writers never truly transition from their journalistic mindset. They’re constantly questioning others about campus happenings and can usually be found reading local or national articles to find the latest leads.
I definitely meet that description. As the editor, I’m obviously expected to pull a little extra weight in the newsroom, but somehow I’ve subconsciously structured my day around a small town school newspaper. Whether in my classes or sitting on the couch, the gears in my brain are always turning, contemplating new leads and taking pictures in my mind. Don’t get me wrong - I still complete work for my other classes, but whenever I need a break, instead of turning on Netflix, I turn to journalism as my “therapy” almost.
While some call me a workaholic, I actually think this is fun! I’ve been able to meet new people, share my ideas, learn real world skills, and bring light to unknown concepts or town happenings. I used to be much shyer and was always one step out of the loop, but now I seem to know what’s to come before the rest of the student body and rarely hesitate to strike up a conversation with someone new.
This makes writing articles so much easier, as The Eagle’s words become informative instead of encapsulating. Every time a new issue is published, I feel a great sense of pride knowing our hard work has paid off, and hearing feedback from readers across the country (there are literally people in Iowa reading our paper) reminds me that although some don’t recognize all the work done in 247 Tech A, many others appreciate the commitment.
Now, there’s something I have to clarify. Being the editor, let alone on newspaper staff here, wasn’t originally my plan. During my freshman year, I kind of got sucked into writing for The Eagle when my teacher Dave Campbell recognized my hidden extroverted qualities and knack for editing. What started as a creative outlet turned into an intense passion, one that I may pursue as a career. Until then, I’ll continue to write anything from sports season previews to campus updates and even a music review I like to call “Emma's Country Column.”
However, being a student journalist isn’t all full of smiles. This semester, there’s only four people on staff and three others in the club, when in the past The Eagle has had almost 20 staff members. Therefore, instead of focusing most of my time on looking over articles and assigning leads like editors in the past have done, I brainstorm articles, write my own pieces, and then edit those written by others, which is understandably time consuming. Then there’s the actual interviewing process that can cause additional setbacks since many potential interviewees never respond and have to be tracked down.
Luckily, thanks to some helpful peers and teachers, everything comes together in the end. However, just as one issue goes out, we quickly have to switch gears and begin work on our next publication. It takes a lot of effort to write as many articles as we do. There's definitely some fun and relaxation sprinkled throughout our class, but in order to experience that rewarding feeling of completion, we need to stay dedicated.
Dedication. That’s why I do this. No matter how old someone is, they should hear what’s going on in the world around them, whether that be a busy city or simple schoolhouse. By the same token, if I have the drive, talent, and passion for journalism at 16, there’s no reason for me to wait until I graduate college before I gain experience. The role of a student journalist is incredibly vast and fulfilling for this reason. We’re all doing this for a different purpose, whether that be creative expression or career preparation, but share a common goal: to project other's voices through our words.