Why joining News Journalism was the best decision I made in high school

Abbey Malbon, Spotlight Editor

My freshman year self would have never imagined that I would have actually become a senior, let alone be graduating early and writing for my school’s newspaper. But here I am; a senior graduating in one week’s time and writing for my school newspaper.

Throughout the past four years, I have rotated through plenty of different hobbies and interests, but one thing that has stayed consistent is my passion. Freshman year I didn’t really have the interest in discovering my passions; sophomore year, I didn’t have the resources; and my junior year I was provided with a platform that has led me to this point of my life: News Journalism.

Before I joined the staff, in all honesty, school sucked. I was struggling to manage my anxiety, my friends, and quite frankly my life. School quickly became the last place I wanted to be. I felt as though the learning process lacked engagement and relevance and the environment wasn’t conducive to my growth, both academically and personally. I couldn’t truly connect the things I was learning to my everyday life and I found no purpose in the content of my classes. During course selection week my sophomore year, discouraged and exhausted, I decided to apply for News Journalism on a whim. The rest is history.

The first day I entered H208, I knew it was where I belonged.

All throughout my life I have struggled to find like-minded people who are engaged, empathetic, and passionate about the issues that I believe in. I quickly gathered that my peers in my News Journalism class were all of the above, and then some. I became immersed in this inclusive environment that was designed to use our writing skills to engage with our community and provide them with news, entertainment, and a platform for expression.

I can confidently say that News Journalism made me love school, but more specifically eighth period. When I began my Girl Talk blog last year, I had no idea how intense of an impact it would have on future. Not only did my first article break the record for the most comments left on a Metea Media article, it gave me a clear insight on what I enjoyed: healthy controversy. Although a majority of the comments left were laced with criticism and retaliation, I quickly learned that it didn’t matter what others thought of my ideas as long as I continued to speak my mind truthfully and wholeheartedly.

Although I don’t plan on pursuing an academic path in journalism, I can still carry what I learned in News Journalism into any profession I choose. Being on staff has allowed me to grow emotionally and academically by not only developing my writing skills but my confidence. When I first joined, I was a flushed fifteen-year-old who knew how to write but dreaded in-person interviews. I am now leaving staff as a confident seventeen-year-old who will speak up in any room or approach anyone for an interview. The class’s consistent deadlines have also improved my time management skills and my understanding of what it means to work with a team.

As I begin to embark on my journey into the ‘real world’ I will take with me all I have learned in News Journalism. As a reference to our list of rules posted on our bulletin board at the front of our classroom, I can confidently say that I have made it through Newspaper without getting Mr. Page fired, I have loved my people, and most importantly I have gotten my ‘ish’ done.

The relationships I have made on staff have been unparalleled to any other class I have ever taken. My editors, my fellow staffers, and my amazing advisor Mr. Page have provided me with the resources and encouragement to succeed in every area of my life, and I could not be more thankful. Mr. Page’s dedication and commitment to the program is one-of-a-kind and worthy of immense praise. I don’t know where I would be without his guidance and encouragement. Writing for a school newspaper is a privilege in itself, but to write for a paper as engaged and professional as The Stampede and Metea Media has been a true honor.  

If you are a student feeling a little lost, consider joining Newspaper. If you are hard-working and passionate, consider joining Newspaper. If you are a great writer and want an inclusive platform, consider joining Newspaper. If you are none of the above but just want to meet some amazing people, learn about journalism, and hone your skills, consider joining Newspaper. I promise you, you won’t regret it.