Behind the scenes with a teenage journalist


Photo: Malli Pingleton

Interviews for journalism!

A sophomore at Ada High, this is my first year as a journalist for The Cougar Call, and I still sometimes find myself facing new, unexpected issues. However, the biggest issue I have faced with with my work this year is when nobody appreciates it fully. It has become so important to find a topic that is substantial and interesting to a variety of people, or else you end up with an article you have poured your heart and soul into that gets no attention from your readers.

The struggle with this, especially in a small school, is that there isn’t always an interesting topic available for you to write about. Whether all of the big stories have already been taken or there are simply none to take, you may end up with a boring article that must be written.

In 2012, a survey showed that journalism ranked as the fifth worst job industry to be in due to boredom. This is definitely not reassuring.

The level of effort that I put into an article does not change just because of the topic I’m writing about. Even if the topic is less exciting than others, there is still plenty of work to be done. First you must write and organize all of your information, add media, get poll feedback, use statistics and interview people close to the story.  This is all long and tedious work, so it is quite frustrating when the student body pays little attention to the finished product. They like to watch the videos but not read the articles, not realizing how much work goes into each and every one.

This is something everyone on our staff has battled at some point this year.

“People don’t realize how hard it is to write articles. Even my boyfriend thinks that articles just fly out of my brain, but I have to work hard for them, said sophomore journalist Kaelie Miller. “I get writer’s block a lot, and finding ways around this is a lot of work.”

If we started appreciating journalism for the work it takes instead of just the product that comes as a result of the work, perhaps student journalists would feel more acceptance of their work. We don’t ignore the hours of practice it takes for a football team to take the field or the numerous rehearsals it takes before the school play is ready for an audience. Why, then, do we ignore the amount of work it takes the student journalists just to produce one quality article?

The readers act as consumers, consuming the information they choose to be interested in. It will take effort on the consumer’s end to learn about the process of journalism and judge the writing instead of solely the content.

Despite the lack of attention I may get from site readers, I continue to strive to do my best on every article because it is something I am passionate about.