Feb. 22, 2012
In less than an hour the CNN Republican debate, held in Mesa, Ariz., will begin. And where will I be? No, no– I will not be lounging on my couch, at home, in Tucson. I will be here, in the press file tent, along with professional journalists from all over the country, reporting. I’m sitting at a table that is surrounded by television screens, all of which are airing CNN. Other reporters are filling the seats around me, preparing for the night’s entertainment. Many, like myself, are hunched over their laptops, reading news, writing updates, sending emails.
Some are sitting closely together and chatting familiarly. Others are completely alone and keeping to themselves. Some appear to have come in teams. Most are young, but some are grey and old. Some have English accents.
As we get closer to the debate, the volume in the room seems to be rising. We are all typing, talking, chatting on our phones, scarfing down our dinners. Maybe I’m just excited, but the energy is palpable.
I’m reporting on the debate for my college newspaper, the Daily Wildcat, where I’ve been writing on the news desk since September of 2011. I’ve learned more about journalism as a reporter for the school paper than any of my journalism classes have taught me combined. Covering this debate, I feel, is the culmination of all of that learning.
But I’m not alone. I drove up to Mesa today with a fellow reporter. We were hired by the paper at the same time, and we started taking our first journalism classes at the same time, too. He’s slowly turning into a photojournalist, and right now, he’s in the debate hall with who knows how many other photographers fighting for shots of the four GOP hopefuls.
Being here, I finally feel like a journalist. This is what my career could look like:
Driving around the state the country the world? Eating on the fly grabbing coffee any chance I get. Writing writing writing making calls. Asking questions getting answers taking notes. Twitter Facebook Twitter. Where the hell is my AP style book?! Meeting deadline hating deadline please extend my deadline!!! File….breathe. Rest. Sleep?
The debate is only moments away.
Feb. 23, 2012
We sent our story to our news editor at 10:45 p.m. We hit the road, and I had us back in Tucson before 12:30. I was exhausted, hungry, sore from driving all day. But all of that was well worth the experience. I got a glimpse of the future yesterday, and I am excited, invigorated by what I saw.
Journalism, you’ve won my heart. Here’s to a long, happy, tumultuous romance.