Writing Prompt #16: “30 Day Writing Challenge” (Day 10)

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Image Credit: quoteaddicts.com

Here’s the list!

  1. List 10 things that make you happy
  2. Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forgot
  3. What are your top 3 pet peeves
  4. Write about someone who inspires you
  5. List 5 places you want to visit
  6. 5 wins to your heart
  7. List 10 songs you’re loving right now
  8. Something you struggle with
  9. Post some words of wisdom that speak to you
  10. Write about something for which you feel strongly
  11. Something you always think “what if…” about
  12. Write about 5 blessings in your life
  13. What are you excited about
  14. Post your favorite movies that you never get tired of watching
  15. Bullet-point your whole day
  16. Something that you miss
  17. Post about your zodiac sign, and whether or not it fits you
  18. Post 30 facts about yourself
  19. Discuss your first love
  20. Post about three celebrity crushes
  21. What are 3 lessons you want your children to learn from you
  22. Put your music on shuffle and post the first 10 songs
  23. A letter to someone, anyone
  24. What about a lesson you’ve learned the hard way
  25. Think of any word. Search it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image
  26. Write about an area in your life you’d like to improve
  27. Conversely, write about something that’s kicking ass right now
  28. Post 5 things that make you laugh-out-loud
  29. What are your goals for the next 30 days
  30. Your highs and lows for the month

Write about something for which you feel strongly

I read a fascination opinion earlier this morning about print journalism. It was titled “Why Print News Still Rules.”

Jack Shafer has been an online journalist for 20 years, but “you’ll have to pry my newspaper from my cold dying hands.”

I couldn’t agree more.

He makes some excellent points about the differences between newspapers and online content. Reading his opinion made me reflect on my experiences with both types of journalism.

As a fresh Communication Studies Mass Media major in the fall of 2007, my boyfriend at the time suggested that I check out the meeting for those interested in the student newspaper, The Rotunda. After just a few minutes of that first meeting, I knew I wanted to get involved immediately.

And so began the first articles, learning the art of interviews, phone calls, staff meetings, pulling all-nighters on Mondays and Tuesdays to make sure everything was ready for print and distribution on Wednesday, the thrill of seeing my byline. Covering the historic election of 2008, natural disasters, fires, campus traditions, new construction, countless speakers and guests.

I was just a staff writer in the beginning, and then I became the News Editor – One of the most challenging endeavors I had.

Then, I was lucky enough to find my niche – Copy editing. I loved being in control of trying to keep our print and online editions as grammatically correct and error-free as possible. When the staff played Oozeball in the spring of 2011, my black shirt proudly read, “Destroying errors since 1920.”

I worked on the paper for all eight semesters of my college career. It’s one of the things I truly enjoyed at Longwood, and poured my heart and soul into it every week.

Throughout my college career, I could tell things were changing. We improved our online content, and started to become more involved with social media. It’s amazing to see the online version now, to see how dramatically it’s changed since I graduated.

I was so sad to wrap things up at the end of April in 2011, but I remember looking back at the Lankford Student Union, tears in my eyes, as I left the office for the last time.

I have most of the print editions at my parents’ house. I can’t get rid of them.

After graduation, with the archives online, I decided to pull up every article that I had written from 2007 to 2011. I copied everything into a single Word document. When I was done, I counted over 120 articles – News stories, columns when I was the News Editor, Arts and Entertainment, Features, a few Sports pieces, and so on. It was astounding.

I felt humbled, having been given the privilege to write all of those and for them to be published.

For my college internship, I worked at The New York Times Shared Services Center, in Norfolk, Virginia. It doesn’t have anyone in news, but it was thrilling to see how the business worked. The SSC took up a whole floor of the building, and it housed two critical departments for any business: IT and finance.

I was lucky enough to take a day trip to New York and tour the Times’s offices and newsroom. It was amazing! I was starstruck the whole day. I was able to listen in on an editorial meeting, and it was striking how they were trying to balance both the print and online content.

The atmosphere was similar in the SSC in Norfolk. I remember seeing charts and graphs that showed how newspaper subscriptions were falling at a dramatic rate, and everyone was grasping at straws to see if there was anything anyone could do to reverse that trend. It was fascinating to see how the business was changing so quickly, and how the landmark newspapers – The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times – were all becoming more interconnected as the papers and their businesses were literally bought and sold, and combined and reduced. It was fascinating, but also frightening and troubling.

Everyone knew that online content was already taking over, and a lot of people didn’t like it. But, there was almost nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

As I write this, I think about the movies that have showcased print journalism – Citizen Kane, All The President’s Men, Shattered Glass, Page One: Inside The New York Times, and more recently, Spotlight.

Apparently, there’s a few other movies that I need to see, according to these articles: Eight Great Movies About Journalists  and 54 must-see movies for journalists (and 3 series).

Watching movies like these, particularly Spotlight, made me have a deeper appreciation for journalists and what they do every day. It makes me want to do more news-based content on the blog!

One thing that Jack wrote toward the end of his opinion struck me, as he pleads to online content designers:

“… Do what newspaper design has long done—direct the reader to that which is vital, tease him with that which is entertaining and frivolous, and give him a sense of a journey completed by the time he hits the last pages …”

I’ll admit, Al and I don’t currently subscribe to our local daily newspaper, mainly because of money. As Jack pointed out, print is expensive, and putting it on the Internet is almost free.

At the same time, I miss reading The Virginian-Pilot every day, as I watched my parents do for years. They still subscribe to it, and they both save articles for me.

I love that feel of paper in my hands – The same goes with books, and magazines. I’m slowly adapting to e-books on my phone and iPad, but it won’t take hold of me entirely. I love paper too much!

I recognize that the journalism world is changing and evolving, but I’m definitely old-school in this modern world.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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21 thoughts on “Writing Prompt #16: “30 Day Writing Challenge” (Day 10)

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