Attention all high school students who love to write: You may be a naturally-gifted writer if you are more than a shopaholic, you are a certified bookaholic. Your mug either has a quote from C.S. Lewis or resembles the book cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Last but not least, you love to write! Writing is more than a daunting task, it’s your healthy yet obsessive craft. Now that we have established your talented trade in writing, it’s time to foster and grow your writing into a masterpiece. One effective way is to enroll in a journalism class next semester or the semester after.
I did not have the opportunity to take journalism in high school; in fact, my first class wasn’t until the second semester of my freshman year of college. Let’s just say I was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I was so used to writing in freeform that I found reprogramming my writing to follow the journalistic model of writing to be quite the challenge. As a self-proclaimed contender of challenges, I happily accepted and succeed in the challenge. I still to this day remember how the Inverted Pyramid works without any assistance from a cheat sheet: lead (who, what, when, where, why and how), body (background) and tail (extra information). The only aspect I would change from my experience with journalism is taking a course in it high school. To save you from making the same mistake that I made, here are some convincing arguments on why you should include a journalism class in your class schedule.
Broaden Your Writing
Like the assortment of literary genres available, there are different types of journalistic writing.
1. News (Straightforward and to the point)
2. Columns (Personal Perspective)
3. Feature (Mixture of Column and News)
4. Investigative (Literary Detective)
Having exposure to the above types of journalism will transfer well to other forms of writing. Some of the greatest writers dabbled in journalism: Claude McKay, Maya Angelou and Rudyard Kipling to name a few. From poetry to best-selling novels, you will become a master of all writing trades.
Learn Other Useful Skills
Learning the craft of writing and mastering Associated Press (AP) style are not the only skills you will obtain. You will develop strong creative, critical thinking and social skills that are transferable to your current and future studies. In the age of where digital technology runs supreme, you will also learn how to use Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and other software programs that are key for a journalist to succeed.
Gain Valuable Experience
Taking a journalism class is definitely something to consider if you aspire to be the next head anchor for Nightly News, columnist writer for The Washington Post or just a general career in journalism. The more hands-on experience you develop in your high school journalism class will prepare you for college and your dream career in journalism. Also, your journalism experience may provide opportunities to cover stories around the world (which is the win-win of all situations).
Still not convinced of all the benefits a journalism class can provide you? Take the class and experience the results yourself. You still need electives to graduate, right?
Contributed by Courtney Liddell