The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday June 25th

Column: My experience with the DTH and why you should join

Editors and staffers gather in The Daily Tar Heel office on Franklin Street on Oct. 30, 2019.
Buy Photos Editors and staffers gather in The Daily Tar Heel office on Franklin Street on Oct. 30, 2019.

I’ve had a lot of people during my time at UNC ask me if they should join The Daily Tar Heel. One thing they almost never fail to say is, “I’ve heard it’s a lot of work.” 

I always respond with: “Yes, but it’s good experience.”

To this day, those are the best five words to sum up my time with the DTH.

For anyone out there who is thinking about joining one of the best student newsrooms in the country, you might be wondering what exactly that means. 

The “yes” means a lot of things. 

It means asking my suitemates to wait for me to finish a story so I could go to dinner with them, only to have to tell them to go without me. It means working all afternoon to make an article the strongest it can be.

It means texting my editor answers to questions in the middle of a Valentine’s Day date, during my workout or as I’m out with my friends. The words “depends when I get done with DTH stuff” have become my motto as the summer university editor.

However, the “but it’s good experience” means a lot as well.

When I had to skip dinner with my suitemates, it was because I was covering a Race, History and Way Forward commission meeting. In that story, I got to elevate the voices of a group of people having difficult, necessary conversations and standing up for racial progress. 

Every time my editor told me to find more sources or restructure a story, I became a better journalist because of it — one who never stops questioning.

All the times my personal or social life was interrupted by the DTH, I was confirming where I found information. By doing that, I was preventing the DTH from making mistakes and losing the trust of readers. 

And my summer motto is the result of having something in my life so important, so powerful and so much bigger than myself that I prioritize it. 

Although working for the DTH has taught me many valuable skills I will use as a journalist, I strongly believe the skills this newsroom teaches are useful for any student.

For example, I’ve learned how to communicate and the importance of it. It's vital within a newsroom and life, whether that be through coordinating with DTH photographers or working with a team in any realm of employment. 

The DTH also teaches time management, something else that can be applied to any career. Deadlines are important for a newsroom, and learning to respect them is too, especially for students who have other commitments to balance.

I’ve grown as a writer. I’ve learned to take constructive criticism and respond positively. Having my writing edited and editing stories myself so often has forced my writing skills to grow rapidly and has taught me that there is always room for improvement.

Who we are and how to apply:

The DTH is a fiscally and editorially independent student newspaper. The DTH covers news across UNC, Orange County and the state of North Carolina. It has served UNC and Orange County community for 129 years. 

It is a teaching newspaper, which means that students who want to join don’t need prior journalism experience. Staff members learn how to become strong journalists through workshops, opportunities to gain experience and many other things. 

Every week, new print papers are put in the blue boxes that are around campus. Students create these papers from beginning to end. The DTH also publishes online content every day Sunday through Thursday, unless there is breaking news.

Any student can apply to the DTH. New staff members can apply to any of these desks based on their interest: University, City & State, Sports, Copy, Audience Engagement, Photo, Multimedia and Design & Graphics. 

Entry-level positions don’t pay, but editors receive a small stipend bi-weekly. 

Fall 2022 newsroom applications will be available later in the summer on the DTH website’s hiring section.

The newsroom also offers the Sharif Durhams Leadership Program, which is a talent and leadership development course for DTH students from underrepresented groups.

@madikirk31

university@dailytarheel.com

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