I remember sitting in my Foundations in Photojournalism class listening to the older photographers, who were only taking the class for the credit to graduate, talking about all the work that went into publishing whatever “The Daily Tar Heel” was.
I had transferred to UNC from another school, where saving local journalism was one of the only things classes talked about. The reality was pessimistic at best.
What’s the point of a printed paper? Journalism is dying. Staffers keep bringing in photos late. Wait, what was the point of printing a paper again?
Therefore, my first impression of journalism was entirely skewed. You report, you write and you publish. My understanding was basically the most underdeveloped assumption of journalism, minus the transatlantic accent and the newsies standing on soap boxes.
To come to UNC and see the DTH working the way it did from the outside? It was astonishing. Students working to make national headlines and creating a tangible impact in a community like Chapel Hill, all while studying for midterms.
So, a few years would pass before I’d have the necessary skills to work up the courage to direct a message to a friend of mine and ask, “Hey would you need any help on the photo desk?”
It was just that easy? I was finally a member of the group of students who made local journalism look fun.
Which is the case … sometimes. What I wasn’t deciding to acknowledge was the work that went into it. I had to wake up at 5 in the morning to get photos? I had to develop pictures in my car and fight to use equipment every other week?
Flash forward a year later, I switch the photo for video and started to laugh at what I once thought the DTH was in my head. Because if you ask anyone who’s done their fair share of work at the paper, one of the first things they recognize is how hard the work is.