The accidental journalist? ASU student meets her fate under Friday night lights
Editor’s Note: The 2012 membership drive may be over, but I’m still in a membership state of mind. Remember, the membership committee is always interested in sharing thoughts and ideas from members, former members, and would-be members. So, drop me a line: email@example.com.
A native of Phoenix, Anne Stegen is the president of Arizona State University’s SPJ chapter. Anne keeps herself pretty busy! Not only is she a journalism major in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, she serves as a resident hall community assistant and works as web administrator for ASU’s School of Social Work.
Guest Post by Anne Stegen, Arizona State University Society of Professional Journalists
I did not grow up wanting to be the anchor on the evening news. Reporters never drew my attention; they were just a part of every day life, updating citizens on goings on. Like many, my interest in journalism became apparent in my high school newspaper class. The North Canyon Rattler Review was a little, quarterly publication. School administrators designed it to give students writing skills; not to stir the pot and exemplify the First Amendment’s virtues.
Armed with a pen, paper, and 30 questions, I gained an interview with the football coach and the prodigy sophomore quarterback and muscled my way on to the football field. I had to prove I was a journalist by showing my equipment bag’s contents: a 3.1 megapixel point and shoot and my family’s first generation digital camera. I took photos that were mediocre at best, but photography from the sidelines was an honor that no of my fellow student reports had attained. It was a small story, but that experience changed my life forever.
At that Friday night football game in high school, I became a journalist. I felt important and privileged to see events unfold from a perspective that no one else had, and share that with others.
I joined SPJ in the fall of 2009–right out of high school–in my first semester at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The officers were so knowledgeable and the network of members was so vast, that I was swept into it fully. Now here I am, president of the premiere journalism organization at one of the best journalism schools in the country. Once again, I feel privileged that journalism has afforded me this opportunity.
My perspective has changed since that football game. I don’t want to be a news anchor or even a reporter, and the industry faces an uphill climb. I grew up coding my Neopets profile in HTML, and getting my father’s business’s website to the top of Google, which we now call SEO. Convergence is not a challenge for me because I already live it. I have to land that first job out of college, and I am hopeful because of my progressive media skills and SPJ’s network. I am a member of SPJ because I have just as much to contribute to the Society and the industry as it can give to me.
Find your SPJ chapter!