Trying New Things, Writing News Articles…

As a journalism major, writing for the fourth best college newspaper in the country is an opportunity that I simply could not pass up.  Penn State’s student run paper, The Daily Collegian, has always been highly regarded for the content it produces, but this past year was also given the spot between Columbia’s and Cornell’s papers when compared to all other college newspapers, according to the Princeton Review.

In order to make it onto staff for The Daily Collegian, you have to take a test.  At this stage you are an applicant and you are among over a hundred other Penn State students.  If you score high enough on the written exam, which consists of current events and ethics questions as well as being able to take a list of facts and craft a new article out of it in proper AP style, then you get the opportunity to book an interview.  If, after interviewing with one of the editors, you do well enough, then you are given the opportunity to become a candidate for The Daily Collegian – that’s when the fun starts.

Not only are you required to go to weekly meetings for training, which covers ever topic a journalist could ever possibly need to know, but you are also required to go to weekly meetings for your beat (section of the newspaper – news, sports or features and culture).  On top of walking all the way into town for these meetings twice a week, candidates must also complete twitter challenges every time Trudi (our news editor) gives them out, review articles via email or twitter, be an active supporter of The Daily Collegian’s twitter page, shadow our chief editor, multimedia editor and copyright editor for 2 hours each and complete paper pass outs.

Being a candidate for The Daily Collegian is a full-time job in and of itself, but so far I’m loving every minute of it.  Candidates must also have at least 2 stories published by October 20th and at least 4 stories published by December 1st.  Luckily, I made the cut so far and I have been published both in the actual paper and online.

My first story was actually an idea I came up with myself.  I thought it would be fun to debunk popular Penn State myths and rumors.  It was pretty easy to find a couple rumors and then from there I just had to start reaching out to people to get some quotes for each statement I was making.  You need at least 3 sources for something to be a legitimate article, but I wanted to do at least one interview for each rumor I was debunking.  For me, the best part about being a journalist is being able to meet new people that you never would’ve talked to before and learn new things.

In short, while writing this article I learned that sororities can have houses without being considered brothels, Berkey Creamery ice cream is totally FDA approved, if a student gets hit by a CATA bus then they don’t get their tuition paid for and, according to the President of Penn State’s Paranormal Research Society, the ghost of Atherton probably doesn’t haunt campus.  Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better “new thing” to try for my blog than writing for The Daily Collegian and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to do so.

Here’s the link if you want to check out my first article:

Or my second:

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