At the beginning of my first year of college, I knew there was one club I was going to join: newspaper. Granted, I am an English major, and I love to write, so this may not seem very earth-shattering. But I've learned throughout my year of writing that the newspaper is an opportunity for all students who love writing and communicating, no matter where their majors lie. Here are some of the top things you'll learn from working with the newspaper.
1. Working With Deadlines
Most newspapers are weekly, which means that writers have about seven days (or less) to gather their information, conduct interviews and put the final project together. This will inevitably cause stress on weeks when you're totally booked; it will also be good practice for the future. In many career fields, you'll have to finish a project by a certain date. Practicing this skill now will ensure that you'll be able to do it when the stakes are high--namely, when your salary is at stake.
2. Exploring a Variety of Skills
Newspapers are for more than just writers. Copyeditors, photographers, section editors and more all work together to pull off the paper each week. In a small campus newspaper, the chances are that you will have the opportunity to explore a variety of these positions. It's important to be versatile--employers may look for someone who can write AND use Adobe Software AND copyedit. Plus, you may find a news skill that you really enjoy!
3. Meeting New People
In a newspaper setting, people often work in close quarters. The chances are that you'll be consulting with someone--be it an editor, another writer or the person who photographs an event--each week you work on the publication. Joining the newspaper is a great way to jump into a community of dedicated students who take pride in distributing their product on campus.
4. Strengthening Your Writing and Editing Skills
This one seems obvious, but it's actually very important. Like it or not, you're going to have to be able to communicate effectively in the future, often through the written word. Writing for the newspaper will enable you to perfect your skills; accuracy and clarity are very important to the editors! Likewise, if you're into photography you will have to determine which type of picture looks best alongside each article, taking space constraints into account.
5. Staying Informed
Joining the newspaper means that you will have access to campus news, sometimes even before most other students do. You'll be able to keep up on campus events that are relevant to you, and then distribute that information to others in a fair, accurate manner. It's a big responsibility, but someone has got to do it. Why not you?
Hands-down, newspaper is one of my favorite extracurricular activities on campus. I enjoy writing for with a purpose, strengthening my editing skills and interacting with the other students in the office. It's the beginning of the school year, so it's the perfect time for you to get involved with your own campus paper. What are you waiting for? Join the newspaper today!