Don’t Take Anything For Granted

My internship has opened my eyes to an industry that I didn’t know existed until I met my supervisor: scholastic journalism . Of course I knew that high schools had newspapers and yearbooks, but while I was in school I didn’t know that those were journalistic programs, or that some schools even had specific journalism classes. Mine certainly didn’t!

This week my supervisor and I visited a local high school to help them with their latest edition of their newspaper. We were sent their articles to review about a week and a half ago, but with everything that was going on in the office, we only started reviewing them last week…and boy, were they interesting! But sadly, not in a good way. Some of the articles were pretty bad. ☹

I knew that these were high school students, but I assumed that because these students were being taught journalism and how to write journalistically sound articles, they would. These students had plenty of resources right in front of them. My supervisor gave them planning sheets, told them how many words should be ifrustrated-at-workn a lead, and how many paragraphs their articles should have. Almost none of their articles followed these directions and she was understandably fed up. The articles were nowhere near ready for print and the adviser was trying to claim that they were.

We almost ended up telling the school we couldn’t help them anymore because of their disregard for all my supervisor had done for them, but I convinced her otherwise. I knew that if their stories were this bad, that they really did need our help. This experience was a direct reflection of some advice she constantly gives me: to not take anything for granted.

A lot of the time I go into circumstances assuming that someone knows how to do something like I do, or that they think the same way I do, but sometimes that’s just not the case. And it’s okay. In the end we went to the school the students were surprisingly very receptive to our suggestions. I look forward to helping them again!

Simone Myers

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9 Responses to Don’t Take Anything For Granted

  1. davidhamernick says:

    Those dang whippersnappers! It has to be irksome to see these high schoolers with opportunities you (and I both) didn’t have, and they aren’t taking advantage of them. That was nice of you to stand up for them regardless, and I have a feeling that your compassion will speak to some of them and inspire them to become better journalists. Good for you for being willing to help them even if it was against your boss’s initial reaction, that takes some guts to convince your boss otherwise.

  2. cbuch232 says:

    This post hit home for me because when I was a senior in high school, I took a journalism class. Like these kids, i didn’t take advantage of it the way I should have. I think that it’s great that you are willing to help the students regardless of their own willingness to learn. Even if the majority of the class is apathetic, if you can inspire just one young journalist to continue to hone their skills, you’ve changed someone’s life. Good luck and thanks for the interesting post!

  3. Sounds like that was a bit of a frustrating situation. I think you handled it well and I’m sure those students will look back and be very grateful for the help they received from you. I think you showed your supervisor that you were willing to put in the extra time to ensure these kids were given a clear message, which I’m sure she appreciated. I hope that you were able to reach some of the students and that they feel inspired to become a better journalist. I think it’s important we remember that some of the mundane tasks we do everyday aren’t common knowledge and that you did a great thing in paying it forward to these kids. Keep up the hard work Simone!

  4. Although my school offered Journalism courses, linked with working on the school paper and yearbook, I never took advantage of the opportunity when I was a student. Looking back on it, I could have started my career off at a much younger age and entered college with an idea for my career path if I had explored these class options. Instead, I graduated and pursued a degree in English Literature, since I knew I loved to write, but wasn’t sure how to apply that skill to the job market.

    I think it’s great that your internship has you helping high school students discover journalism. You can be a great source of inspiration for them! As a young person pursuing a degree in this field, your word will mean more to them than that of an older advisor or teacher they can’t relate to. Although it’s sad to hear that their articles were lacking, I think it’s great that you guys are sticking with it and helping them develop solid journalism skills!

  5. pdxsx says:

    Good job trying to help them out! I look forward to hearing if you area actually able to make an impact on their skills soon!

  6. hansonlauraj says:

    I admire your perseverance! I think it can be difficult for high schoolers (and it sounds like even their teachers!) to have the journalistic perspective necessary to create viable work. I am confident that with your help, these students will begin to see the high standards with which they should be working.

    Good job and great post!

  7. hansonlauraj says:

    I would like to report a quick syntax error: “In the end we went to the school the students.” A semi-colon or period would have worked to fix this problem! 🙂 “In the end we went to the school. The students…”

  8. kaitlynchock says:

    This sounds really frustrating and I am really proud of you for convincing your supervisor to keep working with the students. These kids have an amazing opportunity in front of them but often it’s hard to realize how fortunate you are. And this is also a great reminder for us to take advantage of the resources we have. We have an unbelievable amount of resources at the University of Oregon and often we don’t use them. Your patience and emphasis on not taking anything for granted is very mature. Thank you for your post!

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