During my last few years in pursuit of a career in journalism, I’ve had moments of joy and laughter along with moments where I’ve wanted to burst into tears.
This weekend, I walked up to the podium at the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Best of the Midwest Conference to accept The North Wind’s first place best of show award for four-year weekly newspaper. At this moment, all I could feel was pride.
We took first out of a line up of at least 10 schools in the Midwest, some of which had larger staffs and more money at their disposal. This achievement is something to be proud of, and that pride has been earned by more than just our current staff.
I want to thank my previous co-workers and current staff for every critique, every encouragement and every late Wednesday night, because this is the college experience I’ve taken the most out of, and I wouldn’t change it for any other path. I also feel incredibly grateful for the phenomenal mentors and professors I have had as a guide along the way.
The awards we received this weekend were confirmation that hard work put in pays off. On top of that, it shows that we can make a stellar product as a team and utilize the unique talents of so many amazing students.
The North Wind is a place that will propel us through the years to come as we enter the professional world after receiving our degrees, and this is no easy feat.
Being part of the media invites a multitude of unforeseeable challenges. We work on deadline, so if a writer doesn’t pull through on a story, or if something we are covering gets canceled on the day of production, we have to problem solve and deliver regardless. Sometimes our technology doesn’t work and we have to overcome that. One week we were down to two working computers before the pages were ready for print.
On top of that, we’re living in a climate of wariness toward media, and this wariness can impose problems when trying to speak with sources or engage in dialogue outside of work.
As editors, we face these challenges weekly, and it can be easily forgotten that there is a face behind every byline. At The North Wind, we do not only write for and produce a newspaper each week. After grueling production nights, we still get up in the morning and go to class too. Despite this, this staff was able to achieve high awards.
Journalists face the challenges of each week because this job is important. The press is the only industry protected by the First Amendment because we are here to inform the public and give them voice, whether it be in the midst of controversy or not. I am proud to have had the opportunity to learn this craft with the best in the Midwest.
I am sitting in an office that I’ve come to love and spend my time working in an institution I am proud of. But, most importantly, I am in a place that has been created and cultivated by fellow students who have taught me more than any class ever could.