Reflections

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Becoming a Journalist

By Brian Browdie ’13
Student

I recently received an invitation from a community organizer in Brooklyn whose group funds neighborhood environmental initiatives. I had reached out to her in March while reporting a story for Columbia News Service. Now she was inviting me on a tour of some of her group's showcase projects. "I'd love to have you join us if you can," she wrote.

As I read her message, I felt like a reporter. Someone whom I met as a source thought of me in connection with some information she hoped to publicize. When she thought of reporters, she thought of me.

After nearly a year that began with my walking through Brooklyn on the hunt for RW1 stories -- not knowing what to do, panicking when people did not return my calls, and dreading the prospect of not having a story by deadline -- the invitation felt great.

In the documentary "Shakespeare High," Kevin Spacey remembers the epiphany he experienced at the high school he attended in Los Angeles. "I can actually pinpoint the moment I realized I no longer wanted to be an actor," he recalled in the film. "I was an actor.”

At some point this year, I became a journalist. I have the J-School -- especially my professors, classmates, editors and sources -- to thank. I still feel uneasy until my reporting fills my notebook sufficiently. But at least it's a familiar feeling. I have the J-School to thank for that, too.

Posted by: Current StudentCurrent Student April 2012

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