Whether you have been a loyal reader or an indifferent observer of this semester’s content, we at the Graphic believe there are more than a few slices of wisdom that our world, the world of journalism, has to offer you.
And so, we are offering 10 recommendations for why thinking like a journalist will help you with the rest of your time here on campus (or at least until we come back in January).
This piece of advice is always saved for last, but it’s not stressed enough: chill out. If you’re not interested a journalism career (but why?) and haven’t signed your major in blood, this is the time to not have “it” figured out. Try new things, meet new people and search for that vocation we all had to pretend we discovered in freshman year. Journalists wouldn’t work for bad hours and even worse pay if they didn’t have the enthusiasm. Find that enthusiasm.
A New Yorker journalist once called humility “the acorn of good journalism.” Humility is so essential to learning, especially once you land that first job. In first impressions, hold onto that acorn.
Exploit new technology
Current and future journalists are adapting to find a place in social media outlets, not fighting them. You’re already on social media enough — why not expand its uses to your education? Share class notes in a Google doc, tweet what you learned in your last class and ask questions on Facebook. Reach everyone on campus with your media. But don’t forget to take everything you hear on social media sites with a grain of salt. Be sure to confirm your sources and double or triple confirmation. Which leads us to write…
“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
Be weary of hearsay within the Peppervine. From whispers overheard in the Caf to rumors spread on Facebook, approach everything you hear with a dose of skepticism. Apply this to your own life. Frequently think about your ideologies, and “check your premises” (excuse the Ayn Rand quote). We challenge you to question your professors, parents, friends, television, books and social media.
Obey the deadline
Here in the newsroom deadlines are sacred. Cast your mind to the deadline mentality during school. If you think of everything in terms of deadlines, your productivity will soar (or your Graphic is free!).
Demand high ethical standards
Like Hemingway and Dexter, journalists have a strict moral code. We, among other things, aim for objectivity, fairness and truth. If you, the public, don’t trust the Graphic, then we have failed. We want accountability from readers as much as we want the right to report. Carry these canons into campus life and that elusive “real world” ahead of you. It’s not a Pepperdine thing — it’s a human thing.
Observe something unusual and tell someone
You don’t have to be a “watchdog” or citizen journalist to prove you know what’s going on.
Be a good listener
“Listen, then make up your mind,” Gay Talese said of the secret to writing. Everyone can benefit from trying to listen a little more. And say “thank you” more. You’ll notice the difference.
Actively search for news in your community. Care about the world around you and invest your time into valuable efforts. The important part is to know.
In writing, cliches take away from the facts and often inflate simple ideas. This mindset works for the actual world. College is where students are supposed to regurgitate perceived mannerisms. Remember that one month you went without shoes because you “wanted to get closer to the earth”? You were a cliche. Break the monotony of your major, your leisure time and your social clubs, and stand out!
Do you care about this newspaper? We don’t know. What we do know is that we want you to care about the news and student opinion, and to, at the very least, have the unrestricted right to access it.
At the risk of getting all Newsroom-y on you, we’ll leave the rest with famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein: “The real purpose of reporting, of journalism is to illuminate what is real, you know, real existential truth. What’s going on around us? That’s not sensationalism, that’s not manufactured controversy, that’s not — it’s about context and listening.”