On the day that I started freelancing, I could not find the classroom.
When it was announced that there would be a meeting for interested freelancers for the Viking Vanguard, I was a wide-eyed sophomore who did not know anything about newspaper. I came into the meeting late and embarrassed, offering a shy wave to the upperclassmen who were instructing the other students. One of the girls gave me a comforting smile, and I knew if I ended up working with them, they would be open to my ideas. The beginning of my sophomore year marked my debut as a freelancer, which gave me the opportunity to work on anything I wanted within each issue.
My older sister had been involved in newspaper a few years before me and was enrolled in the class, working on interviewing and sport photography. I originally did not know what drew me to wanting to do newspaper, but I knew that writing was a hobby that I liked to do. I did not have space in my class schedule to enroll in the newspaper class, so I did freelancing instead.
While writing seems to be the only thing that comes to mind when people think of newspaper, the reality is that there is plenty more to do. Being a freelancer for three years, I have learned that newspaper does not just involve writing: it is a combination of writing, reading, and listening.
Despite doing this for a long time, I have always wondered what fueled my desire to write. Sometimes I think it is the need to simply have an activity to do outside of class, but I believe it is more than merely putting words on a page. Anyone can put words on a page, but it is about learning how to communicate with others and getting a deeper perspective.
It is about showing news to the public and handling it with care. Interviewing is so public yet personal.
I feel like interviewing people is almost like being a close friend for more than a moment. Interviewing taught me how to communicate with others and understand their situation… it is not often that you can talk with a complete stranger or classmate and pick at their brain for a while. After going through my first interview experience, I felt proud of myself for stepping up and doing something out of my comfort zone. It initially felt daunting to me at the time to talk to someone I had never met before, but I have gotten more comfortable with it over the years.
Over time, I stopped thinking about what was comfortable and started thinking about what would make me feel uncomfortable. Something I think that is so interesting about freelancing is that I’m not constricted to just covering one subject. I have done pieces on music, school clubs, TV shows and more. I think it really helped to slowly stretch myself over many activities in newspaper to see how much I could do and how much I could learn.
It has been an honor to be a part of work that has allowed me to provide different ideas to various issues. Hearing people talk about activities that they love or events that they contributed to has made me realize how similar human experiences and feelings are, something that I am grateful for in that people trust me to write about.