It’s been almost exactly a year since I started studying journalism at university. As I’ve written before, I love journalism. However, had I known all of the things I would be doing in my classes beforehand, I may have thought twice about it. It’s lucky I didn’t know, though, because I ended up jumping in headfirst, fears and all. I love so many things about journalism: the process of piecing interviews into a story, the ethical discussions and debates and the actual act of writing, to name a few.
When people ask me why I decided to study journalism, I never really know what to say. I’ve always enjoyed English and writing and I have hilarious short drafts in old notebooks to prove it. I had my first article published in a local newspaper when I was in grade six and then I continued writing regular articles. Some of my teachers and friends started assuming that I would study journalism. I guess I eventually decided that I would study it, too. I can’t recall what I wanted to do before journalism; I think I considered creative writing, teaching and, at one point, marine biology (out of the blue, I know, but I really love sharks and the ocean).
On a basic level, I think I chose to study journalism because it involves writing. Although I enjoy all of the parts of the article writing process, from brainstorming and pitching story topics to interviewing sources, my favourite part is always looking at my list of transcriptions with highlighted quotes and starting to write. At a certain point, the quotes and ideas come together and the words just start to flow. It’s a different kind of writing than fiction or blog post writing; but it’s incredibly fun, and rewarding, nonetheless.
I think another reason I chose to study journalism had to do with the fact that it requires a sense of curiosity. In the essay portion of my application to journalism school, I wrote about how there is an endless supply of stories in the world around us. Anything can be a story—from neighbours rescuing baby bunnies in their backyard to citizens across a town mobilizing for a fundraiser for the local hospital. We can capture all of these stories and tell them to the world; but only if we are curious enough to discover them in the first place.
Being curious means asking questions. It means wondering about why things are the way they are, questioning the seemingly obvious and the evidently obscure. Being curious makes for great journalism. When a journalist wonders why something is the way it is, they ask questions; and then they write about their findings for the rest of us to learn. This applies to investigative journalism especially, but curiosity is key across all types of journalism. After all, if you don’t want to learn more about the world and the people, systems and places in it, then why would you want to write about those things?
While I may not know all of my reasons for choosing journalism, after studying it for one year I can definitely list all of the reasons why I’m now happy that I chose it. Something I didn’t expect was the growing importance of journalists in democracies; as we’re seeing in the States, journalists are incredibly valuable in holding politicians and leaders to account. I’ve loved leaving my comfort zone in doing interviews with strangers, and learning new things like multimedia. Journalism also allows me to draw on my other interests, like politics and law, which makes it even more fun for me.
As I head into another year of journalism, I’m both thankful for my decision to study it and excited for what lays ahead. I’ll definitely be writing more blog posts about my experiences studying journalism in the future, so if you have any questions about my studies, feel free to ask in the comments!