When I applied to Cal, I knew that I wanted to be an English major. I joined the Daily Californian and have been reporting for them since January. When I heard about the opportunity to get a minor in journalism in just one summer, I was ecstatic.
In high school, I was the editor of the literary magazine and found passion in leading a team of creatives to publish a collaborative book of expression. My high school was super strict and students found it to be a huge limiter on their self-expression. Writing is a unique way to let another person see inside your mind and understand your way of thinking.
I had always stuck to print media. Even with the Daily Californian, I had simply relied on type and text to get my story across. The journalism minor expanded my horizons and taught me about the ever-expanding use of digital media in journalism. During summer session A, I took two introductory classes. Now, I’m in summer session D and am taking my three elective classes. I chose The Future of Storytelling, Advanced Multimedia, and Social Media and Journalism.
Although it is intense in the sense that it’s six hours of classes Monday through Thursday, all of the material is time-sensitive and relevant to what’s going on in the world. This makes it interesting and stops anyone from ever asking, “why is this important?” We discussed topics such as the ethicality of blurring faces in protest photography, the dangers of media alteration, fact-checking and more.
Our grades are mainly project-based, which is a wonderful impetus to get some hands-on experience. I received instruction in Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Medium. Before this minor, I had thought that I was fairly good at many of these programs, but now I can see that I was lacking a lot of tips and tricks of the trade and I wouldn’t have found out about on my own. I also learned how to properly set up equipment for a stable picture and clear audio.
An important thing to mention is that if you finish the minor in one summer you get $2,000 back! You just have to follow the correct steps in submitting your forms. It pays to learn! You can check out the website for more information.
Our professors also invite guest speakers from the field to discuss with us their journey to journalism success. We get to speak directly to people who have won Pulitzer prizes and write for the New York Times. We even got to speak with the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. How cool is that? I sent her a follow-up email telling her to have a safe move, as she’s moving to the state I grew up in. She asked me for recommendations on what to do and where to go.
At that moment, it registered that she was just another human being, albeit an extremely determined, strong, and successful one. Having her ask for recommendations switched the power dynamic inside my head and made me realize that no one knows everything all the time. The people at the top of the job market aren’t gods. They’re people, like me, and if I work hard enough, I could get to where they are too. Maybe I’ll be the editor of a big newspaper one day and be asked to be a guest speaker amidst a big move to a new state. If that super-specific event ever happens, I’ll be sure to ask the students for recommendations!