Welcome to the second segment of "Meet The Reporter," featuring...me of all things!
Our team of writers at ASU Odyssey will be writing monthly "Meet The Reporters" as an effort to allow all you readers out there to get to know us a bit better, and beyond just our articles.
So, today's topic: why Arizona State University? Of the multitudes of academic institutions in this country, what attracted me to a city in the desert and a school (unfairly) known for being solely a party epicenter? Well, as I alluded to a bit in last month's MTR piece, this story all goes back to one thing: 'Star Wars.'
I am - as 80's comedies might categorize me - a nerd, and 'Star Wars' is the focal point of a lot of those tendencies. I won't go into my whole 'Star Wars' story right now (maybe when 'Rise of Skywalker' comes out, keeps your eyes open), but for the purposes of this story, my friends and I would spend hours researching some of the old Expanded Universe content of the franchise. On top of that, we were growing up in the early days of YouTube, and fan trailers for the mystical "Episode 7" were all over. None of these things were canon to the films or TV series', but they kept our imaginations ripe with story possibilities.
As I got to high school, I started to succumb to peer pressure, and a lot of things I loved as a kid started to become less prevalent in my life - 'Star Wars' wasn't one of those. In 2012, I had just started my sophomore year of high school and, more importantly, had just gotten onto Facebook for the first time where one of the random accounts I liked was for AMC Theaters. That October, I came across a Facebook post: "LUCASFILM BOUGHT BY DISNEY, STAR WARS EPISODE VII COMING IN 2015."
After immediately clicking on it, I was brought to the AMC Theaters YouTube channel, where I discovered "AMC Movie Talk," which I soon discovered was a talk show discussing movie news and the film industry. I loved the episode, and started coming back weekly to watch. After a few weeks, a thought set in: "Wait a second. These people are getting paid to talk about....movie news? That's a thing!"
This wasn't' the first time in my life that the concept of journalism being a career had entered my mind, but it was the first time that it became feasible to me. Over the next two years, my new obsession became learning about exploring the film world and learning about it - studying the works of film critics, learning about basic camera techniques, and going back and re-examining films I loved as a kid. It wasn't about becoming a filmmaker; rather it was about understanding it to be able to understand the artistic importance of it just as I had with music my whole life.
By the time I was a senior, I decided to join The Beckman Chronicle, my school's newspaper, as one of my final electives. I remember not being happy about it at first, because in order to be an entertainment reporter (and thus review movies), I also had to be a sports reporter every other week, which I knew precisely nothing about.
Nevertheless, my time at The Beckman Chronicle was great. I got to actually start writing about things I wanted to and, in the process, learned about the medium of journalism as a whole. The processes of finding sources, passive/active voice, interviewing, and story importance started to come into view, as well as putting context to the stories I had eaten up on "AMC Movie Talk."
Eventually, it came time to choose what I was going to do after high school. Like everyone at that age, I admittedly had some concerns about picking a career path before I could vote. Still, I narrowed down a list and got the chance to tour a number of schools for a sense of what they'd be like as a potential journalism student.
I eventually narrowed it down to two: Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University in Phoenix. I loved Fort Collins and CSU seemed like a great choice, but I decided on ASU for a few reasons.
For one thing, it was closer to home than Fort Collins, and I think I felt more comfortable in a city than the more mountain-y area of Fort Collins. The heat didn't seem like a big issue because I had grown up in Orange County and was used to spending time with my grandparents in the Palm Springs summers (although as I found out, monsoons were a different animal).
But as far as my actual passion goes, the Cronkite School seemed like the best choice because there were so many different avenues I could explore from Day 1. I wouldn't have been able to try college radio until Year 2 at CSU, whereas Blaze Radio was offering a dozen different opportunities for freshmen. I could continue to pursue print writing with any of the different outlets, or go explore television and visual journalism.
Maybe I didn't know all of the nuances that came with those avenues, but the opportunity to one day merge my loves of art and culture with the standards I could learn from the Cronkite School through all of those options: it seemed like a no-brainer to me. So I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and after four years of experience through Blaze Radio, The State Press and Cronkite Cut, among the other classes/clubs, I like to think I made a pretty solid choice for a 17-year-old.
So that's it! There's obviously a few details I left out, but in a nutshell, a kid obsessed with lightsabers and space politics became obsessed with film, filtered that love through writing, picked journalism because of said writing, and now rocks a Sun Devil t-shirt at least two days a week. Do with that what you will.
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