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A self-portrait by Kat McDermott.
How journalism changed my life

A column on how journalism can help people grow and find themselves.

Journalism changed my life. It helped me find new things that I love, taught me new skills, and find more career options for myself.

It started when I took the class by chance junior year. It seemed like an insignificant filler class at first, but it rapidly started consuming more and more of my free time. I started writing for fhspress.com, just two stories a week. Then, I started writing more and more. I started helping other students with their stories and eventually I became fhspress.com’s editor. Then, I took it even further by becoming the school’s editor for an extracurricular student paper, the SacBreeze. I know that in word, without any colorful uses of diction that creates an emotionally expressive voice for myself (because if I did I would sound uncomfortably corny), this sounds like a drag. I know that at first I was just being a “yes-man” and doing whatever was asked of me the best I could, but soon started I genuinely enjoying all the work I was doing.

I loved going out talk to people and find out where they’re from, what they think, and what they do. I saw character in everyone I met.

I loved journalism so much that I changed what college I’m going to because of it. I could’ve gone to UC Santa Cruz or UC Merced to major in environmental science or agricultural sustainability like I planned to do for years, but instead I decided to stay in Sacramento where my connections are and go to Sacramento State to get a major in journalism and a minor in environmental science. Journalism and finding a career in journalism used to sound scary to me, but two years of journalism class and writing for a paper helped me feel more prepared.

I learned how to write in a journalistic style, prepare for interviews, present myself as professional, how to ask genuinely interesting and deep questions, and how to think of relevant follow up questions.

Most importantly, I learned that just because someone isn’t very nice doesn’t mean they’re not as interesting or has any less to say than someone who is. Good journalism allows people to speak their mind even if their opinion is unpopular or controversial. Depending on who you ask this could be a blessing or a curse, but in my opinion it’s what makes journalism so amazing.



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