Student Voice

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Opinion

Experience in sports will help further journalism career

December 14, 2006

I write this column while sitting on my couch listening to the lull of the TV in the background and reminiscing about my last year and a half at the Student Voice.

Although I’ve been a part of the Voice since the fall of 2004, I learned so much more in the last year and a half than I ever thought possible.

Near the end of my freshman year, I was excited to find out that I would be the Sports Editor for the next semester, and I ended up holding the position for the entire year.

I learned the ins and outs of page design and the importance of meeting a deadline. I wrote three or four articles a week right off the bat and that improved my time management. As the year went on, my articles improved and I didn’t get as stressed out over the small things I couldn’t control.

Last spring, I was asked if I would be willing to continue my role as Sports Editor for the current semester and see what the paper would have in store for me. I had an internship in sports reporting over the summer and I was happy to come back and improve on the year before.

I came back to school able to write the way I wanted and to layout the pages with an ease and confidence I didn’t have before. It’s amazing what time and experience can do for you. And I know that my experience as Sports Editor will help me in the future. In fact, it already has. After one year holding the position, I was able to obtain a summer job that I had wanted working in sports journalism, and working to improve myself.

I knew that had I not had clips to send off in a portfolio, I wouldn’t have been able to get the job and write for the newspaper that I had always wanted.

This column is my last with the title of Sports Editor attached to my name. It’s so strange to think that when I come back to school at the end of January, I will be doing a different job on the staff. I will be working as the Offbeat Editor, but I will still have some input on sports. I will be helping out with writing articles when needed and doing my new job with just as much effort as I used in sports.

I know that it is necessary to break out of the sports mold to become a better reporter.

I knew when I came here that I had a passion for journalism and also a passion for sports. In high school I wrote a lot of feature and news pieces, but a majority of my articles were sports. River Falls has helped me to realize how much I really do love sports reporting.

While working here, I had the opportunity to write about a variety of different sports. I wrote about sports that I had no idea about, so I had to try.

Last fall, I wrote a column about the women’s rugby team. I knew nothing about rugby besides the fact that a few of my friends played it. I attended a practice for a day and realized how hard and how much dedication the sport required. I couldn’t move for about three days afterwards and was covered with bruises, but it was worth it to experience something new.

I have also written about sports I didn’t really like until I got to know more about them. I also got to write about sports that I used to enjoy playing and knew a lot about.

I have a lot of favorite memories from the last year and a half that I will carry with me out of this job.

In writing so many articles in the past three semesters, I also had the opportunity to meet so many people I otherwise wouldn’t have met.

Though there were difficulties along the way, in the form of others not making deadlines on time, people not giving their full respect to me because I’m not a man in the sports field and just overall stress, it was worth it. 

This job has given me an opportunity to continue to move up in the Student Voice ranks and I am excited to see where I can go from here and what I need to do to improve myself as a journalist.

Sarah Packingham is a former member of the Student Voice staff.

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