Thursday, August 9, 2012

We're halfway there

By Makenna May (Coeur D'Alene, ID)

They say that immersion into a foreign culture is the best way to learn a language. For me, this program has been a head-on immersion into journalism, and I can truly say that I have learned so much already. My high school in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho doesn't have a school newspaper, so unlike many students here, I never really had experience working on a paper before I came here. I was definitely nervous for the program, but more than that, I was excited to learn. I have known for years that I am interested in pursuing journalism - I have always loved reading and writing, I enjoy following foreign news, and Anderson Cooper is my role model - and the unparalleled experience I have had at the program so far has left me both grateful and humble for being chosen.

Our workshops have exposed us to the different types of journalism - news, opinion writing, feature stories, investigative journalism and sports journalism - and I have found that I really enjoy opinion pieces and features stories because they include many stylistic elements and allow room for creativity. We also have a newsroom where we frantically draft, edit, and organize our pieces, often resulting in hustling, bustling chaos. We have also been exposed to the stress of deadlines and have been sleep deprived in classic journalistic fashion. But I have grown so much and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything - not even a nap! By going outside of my comfort zone, I have had the opportunity to learn from my new friends here and push myself to new limits.

On our first night here, our directors told us that these ten days are very much like a marathon, and the metaphor fits well. We pack so much into everyday, we grow tired, and we work into the night. But we support each other, we joke, we laugh, and we create a family. I have loved my experience here, and this immersion into a whole new world of journalism has been one amazing journey that I will always cherish.

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