Stories are the backbone of my world. I hear them, I tell them, I write them. This summer I had my first big girl, real world job aka an unpaid internship (does a transportation stipend count?). Despite what I had seen in movies, there were no coffee runs or hours spent sitting by the copy machine. Instead, I dove into research and reporting with a fierceness I had never known could exist within me.
I would be lying if I told you that every minute was exciting. In reality, it was just a lot of waiting, leaving voicemails and learning how to type the right string of words into the Google search bar. The place I worked at had a small staff and the publisher brought in the most delicious cookies I had ever tasted on a weekly basis. Soon enough, I felt like I was part of a weird little family, which most people would find comforting. However, because I’m a worrier, I began to panic that I wasn’t producing material that was nearly as good as it should be. I was afraid I wasn’t telling the right story.
I think that a journalist’s worst fear is that they aren’t presenting their stories in the best light (and also an empty coffee pot) possible. People trust us to write the truth and more. Anyone can tell facts, but not everyone can spell them out with sincerity and motivate an audience to take action. Journalists want to write stories that capture the world, that change minds, that not only gives answers but asks questions (at least I would like to). The stories I had written before were read at most by my professors and friends and maybe the occasional college student. Never before had I really had a platform to write big stories read by hundreds if not thousands of people. And these weren’t just people who read my article by accident, these were people who wanted to read my story on purpose.
This audience put a whole new weight to my stories and changed the way I saw myself as a storyteller. I wasn’t producing pieces in a 48 hour time period, instead I was taking weeks to craft a near to perfect piece. Information trickled in drop by drop and my stories evolved with every bit of new information, making me both frustrated and overjoyed as I learned how to be patient and persistence with my work.
If there was one lesson that I took out of this summer, it was said best by one of my coworkers. Not everyone is going to (or wants to) write for the New York Times, but no matter what, if you have passion for what you write, a good story will come about and everyone loves a good story. This stuck with me because as a student, you hear all these big company names thrown around and in reality the chances are slim to land those positions. In the end, the most important thing is that I write stories that are honest, passionate and inspiring to my audience whether it be 10 people or a million.
Bloody hell and best wishes,