Here are a few clips from my college years at the student newspaper, The Northeastern News. My news editor went on to eventually write for places like the Wall Street Journal, so I like to think I had one of the best reporter brains early on, guiding us newbies.
This place is where I learned how to write lead sentences and incorporate transitions. I discovered and explored angles of stories. I learned about balance and fairness.
The editor would stand up among a dozen or so reporters and assign stories. We would learn to report on various topics, even if we had little or no knowledge of the topic. Back then, we had notebooks and pencils and scribbled really fast.
Often, we’d be carrying mini tape recorders, hoping our batteries still worked so we could rewind interviews and forum events over and over again on deadline in hopes of getting quotes and context right.
In time, my friends and I could pitch our own ideas and this is where the fun really began. We’d get VIP backstage passes to concerts with first row privileges for taking pictures, like at the KISS 108 FM radio station’s all-day pop and rock concert. I dreamed of working at a fashion magazine and pitched a fashion column called Fashion Glimpse, which gave me creative freedom.
We balanced college coursework with newspaper deadlines and learned all the basic lessons of reporting. Back then articles were pasted up on boards and pictures were sized. This was way before desktop publishing made shipping issues faster and more efficient. No matter what the effort to get it done, there was no greater feeling than seeing the final article come out, straight from the printer, in newspaper stacks around campus.