Kristen Gandenberger ’15
So I was going to wait to write a post like this until the end of the school year (and my tenure as editor), but I decided to move it up because today is a Very Important Day in the digital journalism class in which we honor a Very Important Person- that’s right, it’s Mrs. David’s birthday. *Champagne poppers explode festively in the distance*
In honor of this great day and this great person, I wanted to put into words just a few key lessons out of many that I have learned from Mrs. David as I tried my hand at journalism this school year.
1. Every single person you meet has a story. Becoming a journalist made me look at the people in my life differently, and I realized something: Literally everyone is interesting. From the fun facts and amazing talents shared about Mercy girls in the paper’s monthly Student Spotlight column to the maintenance guys to the great aunt you’re always afraid to talk to, everyone has a really good story inside them somewhere. Mrs. David’s kids are especially talented and interesting, which she often reminds us. Especially Beth.
2. With this being said, most people actually really like sharing their stories when given the opportunity. From interviewing total strangers in journalism, I’ve come to realize that a great way to make friends or a good first impression is to ask people questions. Sure, many self help wikis and girly magazines give this advice, but after this class I now know how to ask the right things. For example, asking Mrs. David how many kids she had did not elicit as humorous a response as, “Why on Earth did you have 5 kids???
3. Essay writing is not that hard. After being assigned a story where I had to fill up the entire front page of the newspaper with 10 point font or smaller, I know the true meaning of what a difficult writing assignment is. Writing an essay on a novel for English class or a reflection in my prayer journal for Mrs. Bird is a piece of cake when compared to trying to write journalistically. Seriously, making someone else’s words blend flawlessly into your article is a feat. It’s the most challenged I have ever been as a writer and Mrs. David does a great job of helping all of her students from freshmen to seniors learn this style.
4. Though so much of journalism entails removing my identity as a writer from an article as much as possible, I think I have come to understand written voice better in this class than any other English class I have ever taken. In just one year I have seen girls like Shannon Ferrier and Julia Von Allmen grow into fantastic comic writers when they started the class with no affinity for writing at all. I have seen the seemingly shy Bridget Hellman smartly and somewhat sassily challenge the administration. Lindsay Eichhold continually manages to make current events and sports news utterly interesting to me. Caroline Steinmetz and Karly Maas churn out blog post after blog post, each one as good as the next. From reading all this good content, I have learned the most from my peers. Each one of them has a unique voice and world view that is honestly worth reading about, which they have found thanks to Mrs. David.