Before now, it wasn’t my lifelong dream to become a journalist. As a kid, I didn’t stay up past my bedtime to watch the newscast at night. I never read newspapers. I didn’t care for current events. I didn’t even know what a lede was until my freshman year of college.
Four years ago, I committed to the University of La Verne and hesitantly chose journalism as my major. I knew words were my strong suit, and I was getting pretty comfortable using a DSLR camera, so I figured journalism was the best fit for my interests at the time. Now that I’m looking back, that was a pretty gutsy decision to make — to spend the next four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on getting trained and educated in a field that the majority of the world thinks is “dying” (Guess what? It’s not).
From there, I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into the world of news — I spent the next four years holed up inside room 118 of the Arts and Communications Building marking up hundreds of drafts of articles with red pen, playing phone tag, transcribing hours-long worth of recorded interviews, analyzing and researching complicated issues, writing stories, salvaging stories and killing stories. The process wasn’t glamorous — it was stressful. I’d come home every Thursday night after a 10-hour production day feeling more frustrated than accomplished. I doubted myself and I compared myself to others. Most of the time, I felt that every article I published wasn’t good enough.
But for some outrageous reason, I stayed. And I wanted to stay.
I love the newsgathering process, and I love the product that comes out of it even more. If I told 18-year-old me that being a journalism major involved a lot more than being a good writer — that it involved tireless commitment, constant doubt and more failures than successes — then I think I would have chickened out.
Journalism is a calling. In order to succeed in this mad field, you have to have passion. You have to live and breathe it. You have to wholeheartedly commit yourself to it, and you have to believe the blood, sweat and tears are worth it in the end.
Kristina Bugante, Editor in Chief