Recalling Journalism

After a couple years of doing some radio broadcasting stuff at Lakeland Community College, I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to switch gears when I transferred to Eastern Illinois University, focusing instead on Journalism. Within weeks I learned a few things very quickly:

  1. Writing for a publication or newspaper is, by design, relatively barren of individualism and personality. Succinctness, accuracy, and structure were the pillars put in front of a kid who was still drunk on American Idiot and was sure that there was an untamed future before me as the frontman of some yet-to-be-discovered rock band. I wanted to channel the writing of the old sports journalism days, when papers would document college football games like they were witnessing the biblical ascension of demigods, trodding gloriously upon a field of battle, weaving tales of wonder interspersed with facts and numbers. Pretty much as soon as I stepped foot into Buzzard Hall it became clear to me that I was barking up the wrong tree.
  2. I was infinitely more interested in rooting through the ways things were than investigating the way things are. My favorite class through all of college was a sports journalism course, and I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember the teacher’s name. He was a squirrely old weirdo who genuinely loved sports history and the news coverage that came with it. You could tell as soon as you were in his classroom that he was in his latter years before retirement, and as such was far more casual with his lessons, preferring them to be more of an open forum revolving around subjects he’d present (comparatively, most college courses were tedious powerpoints for students to regurgitate a couple times a semester). At this time, I was still very much looking for my way in life, sculpting a personality, and generally damaging/rebuilding/damaging/rebuilding friendships and relationships, a process which would last for largely the following decade, so the way things were long before was far easier to absorb than contemplating the way things were then.
  3. I was transitioning into a world I knew nothing about, both in terms of a thriving Journalism school and a proper University. My time at Lakeland was great, but it was exceedingly casual there, and while I learned a great deal, it was a relatively informal experience. Eastern is an intimidating place, and it took me a long time to gain comfort there and appreciate the environment, the scenery, and generally get my shit together.

I had some really poor experiences with grades my first semester at EIU, courtesy of the aforementioned personal angst and reckoning that Journalism was not going to be my forte. All in all, I ended up writing a single article for the Daily Eastern News, or “The Den,” and it was about as mindless and insipid a blurb as one could produce. Strangely enough, my now-wife was the News Editor at the time. Perhaps during those salad days when I handed in my article, she gave a scrawny, preppy, wannabe oaf in a Green Day shirt and pooka shell necklace a curious second glance (or maybe she drew the feeling up to having gas).

Anyway, the point of all of this is to say I’ve begun dabbling my feet back into the world of Journalism, but only just. Smile Politeley, a Champaign-Urbana-focused digital magazine, sought writers, and I volunteered. To write for them is nothing special, necessarily, as their past contributors number nearly 400 in count. That said, I felt like there’s a lot to this community that I haven’t gotten to know in the 10+ years I’ve lived here, and what better way to not only explore this area, but publicize my findings as well?

My first piece back was a fun one, an interview with DeShawn Williams of BlackVest Money. You can read it HERE.

I have another piece in the works, and hopefully more as time passes.

OK, my suspenders have been snapped. Next topic.

Please give some love to your pets. A couple of dear friends have suffered the loss of their dogs over the last few months, and to hear this news not only crushes my heart for them, but it refocuses my appreciation and adoration for my two goofy dogs.

I just took them for a walk on this oddly-nice February afternoon, and while they came home muddy and needed a bath, I enjoyed every second of it. I hope wherever you are, you give your loved fuzzy friend scritches and hugs, savoring the pure affection and companionship they provide with every second of their all-too-fleeting lives.

My wife and I have been watching Dawson’s Creek, a series I knew of but had never seen. We’re exactly halfway through it now, and it’s strangely fascinating to not only be awash in the sheer 2000’s-ness of the fashion, music, and technology, but to periodically pause and let my significant other talk about how certain scenes or characters bring back intense memories or relate to something she’s gone through.

I don’t have a show that can really channel that period of time for me, except maybe Monday Night Raw, and that’s not exactly something that is written to evoke personal memories.

Video-game wise, I’ve been enjoying Halo Infinite, which is pretty fun, in spite of several shortcomings. Being free is a huge plus.

Neon Abyss is a solid roguelike shooter that falls right into my wheelhouse. I do recommend.

Otherwise I’m just kinda playing NHL 22 and living my best life here in the cold blahs of central Illinois, waiting for the return of warmth, the exit of snow and ice, and the wonderful Spring season that precedes “Hot As Balls” summertimes.

I hope you’re all well and stuff. Thanks for reading.

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