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Newspaper is fun, rewarding experience

By Joshua Vail
On April 28, 2010

When I started college, I thought I wanted to do journalism.

I went back and forth for a while. I basically spent my first two years jumping majors and ended up with an associate's degree in general studies.

I had written a few entertainment reviews for the paper at the community college that I earned my associate's from, but that was about it.

When I started looking for a school to get my bachelor's degree, I didn't even know OU existed.By the time I applied, my academic interests had swung back around to journalism.

After starting as a staff writer on The Campus, I discovered that I had some talent for writing news articles, and I enjoyed doing it.

It wasn't all easy. With the community college paper, I was basically told a word limit and that was it.

At OU, we were expected to follow a standard.

We had to follow AP style, which includes rules for just about everything. We had to correctly record what people said to us in interviews; I had never done news interviews before that.

I quickly learned that the only way I could do it right was with a computer. I don't know how people do it with a notebook. I commend you, notebook-bearing journalists of the world.

One of the hardest things I had to deal with was deadlines. I've always been a procrastinator, like many college students, but in journalism procrastination is a cardinal sin, because deadlines are so very important.

When you're using interviews for all your information, it's literally impossible to start writing a news article the night before it's due.

Despite this, I improved a lot in my news writing skills and my ability to meet deadlines, and at the end of my first semester I was asked to be the Forum section editor on The Campus.

As the Forum editor, I learned a lot about having to deal with other staff writers not turning their opinion pieces in on time, not turning in enough material or just turning in bad writing.

I had to stretch my brain in directions I wasn't used to, find or come up with good material for the Web notes and Apples to Apples sections.

This semester as Forum editor has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.
It has definitely been an interesting time at OU as far as how quickly I've transitioned into new roles.

I've gone from a staff writer, to editor, and now Webmaster for my senior year. I hope to continue with my editor role on The Campus as well.

This first year at OU has brought me a lot of new experiences, a lot of challenges, and even a few regrets already.

But the most rewarding experience despite the difficulties has been working on the newspaper.

Right now, I know what I want my future career to be, and I think working for The Campus has helped me come to that realization and I think it will also help me realize that goal.

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