Why I Started Writing At The Student Newspaper And What Has Happened Since Then

Why I Started Writing At The Student Newspaper And What Has Happened Since Then

Thankfully, I realized that I was not wrong, but that I needed to be involved at The Advocate to fulfill my desire.

Matt Churella

I would like to start this off by stating that I did not want to continue on with school. I never even considered going to college until my one former teacher encouraged me to pursue a writing career, which happened only a few months prior to my scheduled graduation date.

I think it was January or February when I started applying to colleges, but I do not remember. However, the day I heard of my acceptance to my future educational home at Pitt-Johnstown was March 25, 2016.

Pitt-Johnstown is also the home of an organization that I knew I wanted to be involved with, The Advocate.

However, I had a couple problems. I had no experience in journalism and my grades were my top priority during my first semester.

I hoped that I would learn how to think and act like a journalist through classroom discussion and lectures. Thankfully, I realized that I was not necessarily wrong, but that I needed to be involved at The Advocate to fulfill my desire to learn.

Then, after I made the dean's list for my first semester at college, I contacted The Advocate's editor-in-chief to see if I could join the student newspaper.

Thanks to a few people who welcomed me into their organization with open arms, I started my writing journey when I was published on January 18, 2017.

My first article was about ghost students who were being sought after by the registrar. It was not as good of an article that I now realize it could have been.

Although everybody has to start somewhere, I apparently decided to start at the bottom of the hill with my inexperienced writing ability.

In my opinion, working for the newspaper is the best way to learn journalism. There is no class that can prepare you for handling a student government that is petitioning to withhold the truth from being published.

And yes, that is an actual reference to a disheartening situation that The Advocate editorial board had to overcome during my first semester working there.

I would encourage anyone who has an interest in journalism, to stop thinking about writing and start doing it. The more mistakes a writer makes in their journey's beginning, the better off I think he or she can be.

And to my fellow journalists at the student newspaper, if you are reading this, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to be a part of something bigger than myself.

I have progressed from someone with no journalistic experience to a staff writer. I was then elected on The Advocate editorial board as opinions editor in April.

It all happened within a year and it all happened because of people whom I consider to be like family.

I am forever grateful and with time, I hope that I can continue to progress as a journalist at The Advocate. I certainly am looking forward to do so.

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