On Feb. 26, members of The Torch editorial board attended the Associated Collegiate Press annual national convention at the Sheraton Universal Studios Hollywood.
Hundreds of journalism students from all over the country spent four days attending specialist sessions, critiques, workshops, keynote addresses and more. With as many as six or seven sessions to choose from in any given hour, the event offered learning in diverse subjects and a broad range of speakers and valuable insights into the profession.
The last time I sat in a large room listening to keynote speakers, I was in a completely different field. It was a high school culinary competition where I was told that I chose a fabulous industry, how it would change my life, how there are so many opportunities and how the learning would never end in such a thriving industry.
This time it was a different profession, but some of the same things were said. Journalism and culinary arts have their similarities, as well as their differences of course. They’re both competitive professions. Either you thrive or you find a different career. There’s a ton of pressure and time is never on your side.
You’re doing a lot for very little and the outside world judges you on a daily basis without having a clue what they’re talking about. Both industries have all kinds of people who you aspire to imitate or surpass. Your success is dependent on several factors, who you know, how open-minded you are, your ability to learn and your willingness to work 12 or more hours non-stop.
On my first day of culinary school, I sat in a room of 30 people and was told that only around six of us would complete the program. My second day of the journalism convention, I sat at a session with 30 people and we were told that 80 percent of us didn’t belong in news.
There was an underlying theme at the convention: the world is changing, and journalism is having a hard time keeping up.
At session after session, this message came through regarding social media platforms, what’s expected of reporters, photographers and designers, and where the money will come from to support journalism professionals and the organizations they work for.
The way I see it, it’s vital to keep this industry alive. We need people we can trust telling us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. What might be just as important as having people to do the job, however, is keeping people’s interest. It seems these days if it’s not less than 140 characters we don’t want anything to do with it.