Column: Farewell, journalism

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Image credit: Fernando Raciel Tascon

When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher recommended I sign up for a journalism class after I had performed well in his class. I didn’t think much of it, because I didn’t like English, and so I assumed I wouldn’t like journalism. Reluctantly I put the class, “Introduction to Journalism” as my third alternate to my junior year class schedule. I brushed off the fact that I signed up for the class because it was so far down my list and I really didn’t want to take the class.

The middle of August rolled around and the highly anticipated envelope containing my class schedule arrived in my mailbox. I was in shock; I was scheduled to take “Intro to Journalism” for my second period class. How did this happen?

I decided to let it go and give journalism a try. Boy, am I glad I did. I fell in love with journalism and I fell in love with writing and reporting. My senior year I was the opinion editor for my school newspaper and I got to dive deep into topics that I was passionate about.

My team assigned to work on special projects for Scroll.
My team assigned to work on special projects for Scroll. Photo credit: Jessica Banks

Once I graduated high school, I put my journalism dreams behind me. I loved that I found a new passion that I got to pursue for a few years. The time I had was glorious.

Fast forward a few years. When I was nearing the end of my mission, my mom had to register me for classes because I didn’t have access to a computer on class registration day. She signed me up for Writing for Communication Careers. I didn’t think much of it, I didn’t know what it meant. However, on my first day in Lane Williams’ class, I realized that this was a class for journalism writing. I fell in love all over again and was so excited to be able to write for a semester.

It wasn’t too much later that I found myself writing and eventually working for Scroll. This was a dream come true for me. I knew I wasn’t going to go into journalism, but being able to study it and work for Scroll gave me the time I wanted to explore a field I am passionate about.

Now I am finishing up my eighth semester at Scroll. This phenomenal organization gave me countless opportunities.

During my first several semesters with Scroll I worked in the special projects section and got to report about the Lori Daybell case. I learned so much about crime and court reporting, criminal law and writing about high profile cases.

Image credit: Brandon Miller
Image credit: Brandon Miller

During these semesters I also got to write some of my favorite stories, including a research piece about a Supreme Court decision and a deep analysis series of the First Amendment. Those stories taught me about our constitution and how our country runs.

My last semester in this respective position was Fall 2020. That semester I got to report on the 2020 election. My team and I made a plan and went out during the day to cover all sorts of things, including a Trump rally at Porter Park and conducting exit polls. I learned all about why people choose to vote, what they choose and how important the voting system is in our country.

Pretty soon, I moved to a managing and calendaring position where I wrote significantly less. However, I was still able to cover some really sad and powerful events.

A shooting at Rigby Middle School taught me about the sensitivity that is required to report on events that hit so close to home and how powerful a personal experience can be for the direction of a story.

The Pocatello temple open house gave me the opportunity to interview an apostle of the Lord. That surreal experience showed me the importance of writing about religious events and how to prepare questions even when the person you are interviewing might be really intimidating. (He wasn’t actually that intimidating, but the thought of interviewing an apostle freaked me out.)

This last semester, I even let Scroll dictate my senior project. I took what my college experience had been encompassed into and decided to create a sports section for Scroll. I had the opportunity to cover a lot of different events and write features. This taught me a lot about sports, which I really didn’t know much about and it showed me the importance of taking lots of photos to get a clear action shot.

At Scroll, I also wrote articles about things I was passionate about in the opinion section, especially editorials. Issues like police brutality, vaccinations and poor road conditions navigated the editorial topics I wrote about. This taught me how to express my personal feelings while also writing in a way that included a lot of research.

Not only did Scroll give me countless writing opportunities, but I have grown as a leader and as a mentor. Managing a staff of 20 or so editors with 20-30 reporters showed me the importance of humbling myself and seeing things from other people’s perspectives.

Finally, Scroll gave me my greatest friendships. I met my best friend through Scroll eight semesters ago and got to work side by side with her for the last three semesters. This friendship taught me to laugh, love and follow my passions.

Image credit: Sam Vanderwalker
Image credit: Sam Vanderwalker

Journalism has given me everything. My college experience studying news and journalism, especially with Scroll has been immaculate and shaped me through the countless experiences I have shared.

I will forever be grateful for journalism and will always respect the great, difficult work that journalists do. Although I am hanging up my journalist hat, I will never forget the memories I have and experiences that gave me. Journalism has built me into the person I am.