The College News Circuit

I started my freshman year of college as an undeclared student. Although I’d eventually major in music I spent my first semester exploring an interest in communications. So without knowing many people, and needing to make new friends and explore other interests, I attended a student newspaper meeting.

It’s always a little strange going to these club meetings for the first time, especially if you don’t have friends with you. The first meeting for any campus organization defines your expectations for the rest of the year. While some of the other students seemed pretty normal there was one who stood out.

The editor was going around the room asking for article ideas, topics they could write about for the coming semester. A short, balding guy–I guess a few years older than me–pitched his idea. He wrote for the Entertainment section (Arts & Culture was separate). I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it went something like this (read it in a way similar to the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons):

“It’s come to my attention that the campus is going to be dropping the UPN network. Now, as many of you know, UPN is the only network on campus that broadcasts Xena in syndication. If we lose UPN we will lose all Xena: Warrior Princess broadcasts, which throws a big question mark up in the future of the Xena. I’m very, very concerned about this new development.”

We’re talking Beat The Geeks kind of stuff.

I was clearly inexperienced for hard hitting journalism. Serious shit, like minor tuition increases, were left to the Junior/Senior professionals. Anything having to do with state budgets was out, thankfully. Anything having to do with student government was out, thankfully.

Still, I showed up, so the editorial staff gave me a soft ball. I was assigned to do an introductory story on the Office of Multicultural Affairs on campus. I would go there, interview the director, and submit an article for publication.

During the coming days I put off the interview. Days became weeks. Weeks became months. I stopped going to the newspaper meetings. After a couple of months I went to the office, did the interview, and submitted an article that was published a week later. I can’t even remember what the Office of Multicultural Affairs does.

I never attended another student newspaper meeting, but I wrote and submitted parody articles for their April Fools editions with headlines like “MTV Campus Invasion Trounces SUNY System.” The very last thing I ever wrote for that paper was a favorable review of Duran Duran’s Astronaut.

We all make mistakes.