By Katie Bell
And So My Watch Ends ...
Yeah, I am signing off with a Game of Thrones reference.
However, if I were truly in the Night’s Watch this would mean that I’m either dead or a deserter. I promise you I’m neither. I was only contracted to be at Missouri Life for the summer, and fall is coming.
Okay. You've witnessed my obsession too plainly. So let me continue by generically saying I've learned a lot this summer. About photojournalism, writing, regular office hours, how to bring lunch to work, and even editing.
And all of it reassured me that this is the path I want to take.
I like being whisked around to different assignments, using my judgment to select photos worthy of my editors’ perusal, and I really enjoy getting to see places I’d never imagine going to on my own.
The traveling I did for Missouri Life reaffirmed what I’ve thought about journalism for quite some time:
It’s for those of us who didn't get to experience it firsthand.
I don’t describe the juiciness of a burger or capture a smile for my own benefit (although it is fun); it’s all for the reader who relies on my images and my words to share the experience.
And who knows? Maybe it’ll encourage one of you to go try the new Mexican place, or take a day trip to Glasgow.
Essentially, journalists are here to serve. Whether it be the hard-hitting news you need right away for safety, or general knowledge about your community, or the fluffier stories that just give you some hope for humanity. Each has its purpose and that gives me, a journalist, purpose.
Readers, without you, I would be even more desolate and penniless.
My most recent excursion was to the southwest part of this grand state.
What’s also embarrassing is that I took my mom with me on this voyage. She’s close to retirement, and likes to take days off work, and I sure wasn't going to drive eight hours all by my lonesome. She’s also very reasonable, a logical Spock-like creature if you will, and she decided we needed to stay overnight and drive back the next day. Praise her for that insight, considering how tired I was by the end of day one.
It’s always good to have a road companion: they can help you with directions, argue you with you about where to eat, stop at ridiculous antique malls that require two people to go in and joke about everything they see.
You need someone to share fond memories with down the line.
So I encourage everyone to pick a magazine or newspaper, and read about what’s going on around you. It doesn't have to be in your hometown, state, or even country. (I prefer space travel.)
Looking at a computer screen and thinking about how bored you are isn't hip anymore. There really is no excuse to not experience your community. And community is in varying degrees of distance, depending on your comfort zone. But test that zone every now and then. I’m happily surprised every time I do.
And if you need a little guidance, just look to the articles—they usually point you in the right direction.