You've probably heard your journalism professors say it. If you've spend any time surfing this site you've heard me saying it: Write for your student newspaper.
But why? After all, writing for a student newspaper adds to your already busy workload. You have classes, maybe a job, and other things to deal with - why pile on more stuff to do?
I knew you'd ask this question. So here are five good reasons why you should write for your student newspaper.
1. Work Experience
When you finish college and are looking for that first entry-level journalism job, prior work experience will be what editors are looking for. Student newspapers are the place to get that experience.
The other thing editors look for are great clips, published sample of your articles. You need to build a clip portfolio. So where do you get clips? Student newspapers.
3. Get a Feel For The Job
There's nothing worse than spending years getting a college degree in a particular field, only to discover when you get your first job in that field that - oops - you hate it. Working on a student newspaper gives you a feel for what professional journalism is really like. You'll learn what it's like to write real stories, on real deadlines, getting a real byline.
In the end you may decide you love journalism or hate it. But better to find out now, while you're still in college.
4. Find Your Niche
Going to college, especially a big state school, can be a dehumanizing experience. You probably knew most everyone in high school, and now suddenly you're just one of thousands of anonymous students on a big college campus.
Working on a student newspaper provides you a niche, a place to call your own, an identity.
5. It's a Blast!
Forget all the career stuff for a moment. Working on a student newspaper is just plain fun. You're working, yes, but you're also hanging out with like-minded people and making new friends. And there may even be the occasional party after all the work is done. Anyone who's ever worked on a student newspaper will tell you they had a great time.