I realized as I sat down to write this, that 20 years have passed since my John Carroll graduation in 1993. The years have flown by and it seems like just yesterday that I was hanging out with my friends in the Carroll News office.
Now we are spread out across the United States, but to this day, when someone asks me about JCU, I always start with how great the people are.
Not just my roommate and friends, but the professors stand out too. Take Sr. Mary Ann Flannery, for example, the person who introduced me to journalism. She even came to court with me to contest a ticket I got while working on a writing assignment for her investigative journalism class. “I wore my big cross today,” I remember her whispering in my ear as I sat with a handful of other defendants in the courtroom. (The fine was reduced, but I still had to pay the court costs.)
When I arrived on campus all those years ago, there were no email accounts, internet access, Facebook or even cell phones. The really lucky kids came to school with word processors while the rest of us wrote papers in the computer lab in the administration building.
By my junior year, I spent most of my free time hanging out in the Carroll News office. And as long as it wasn’t deadline night, I could use the computers there for all my projects.
Fast forward through the 20 years that have passed since my college days. For me, those years have been dedicated to the world of news — first community newspapers, then technical magazines and now I am editor of a monthly features magazine. I’ve covered council meetings, gone on drug busts, toured Boeing’s helicopter division and interviewed everyone from astronauts to kindergartners. This year I was even lucky enough to cover one of President Obama’s visits to Ohio.
I have loved every minute of my chosen career. (Well, maybe not the five-hour planning commission meetings when the local zoning code was up for debate!)
Yes, the industry is changing. While the newspaper still arrives at the end of my driveway each morning, more and more people are turning to digital news.
Because of that, balancing the integrity of journalism with the instantaneousness of a tweet is more important than ever. Sure there is the excitement that comes with breaking a piece of news first. But that thrill is only worth it if the facts are accurate.
Journalism is alive and well. And as long as we continue to embrace the technological advances, while remembering to keep an eye on the fundamentals, it can remain that way.
So, I ask the future journalists out there. Are you up for that challenge?