Earlier this year, one of my favorite journalists, New York Times columnist David Carr, passed away.
I stumbled upon an interview he did with Boston University, in which he had a poignant statement about why journalism is a difficult field to get into: “Under ideal circumstances you get to at least leave the building and leave your desktop, go out, find people more interesting than you, learn about something, come back and tell other people about it — that should be hard to get into. That should be hard to do. No wonder everybody’s lined up, trying to get into it. It beats working.”
Last weekend, I drove down to Eugene on a rainy Friday night to a friend’s house. My good friend Daniel (also a journalism major) was there, and his band was about to play. Daniel has a predilection for taking his clothes off during every live performance. Tonight was no exception.
He tore off his Bulbasaur t-shirt between songs, revealing a message written in permanent marker on his stomach: “Go journalism!”
Just about every day this week, my mind has reeled back to that message scrawled on Daniel’s belly.
Since moving up to Portland and settling into a professional newsroom environment for my PDXSX internship, I’ve been assigned a number of stories to get to know the community better. The most compelling day had been Friday. It was unambiguously a very busy day during which I’d conducted five interviews.
Around noon, the city’s fire marshal called me. I took the call to my car and spent the next 45 minutes speaking with him in my backseat. Heavy rain bombarded my car and a car alarm went off right behind me halfway through the call, but the conversation went well, overall. I would go back inside, transcribe the phone call, and write the story. The following week, I was offered a paid position as a reporter. Go journalism!