Over the summer, I attended the Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop (MUJW) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. It was a six-day workshop filled with laughs, new experiences, and hard work while I experienced the life of a college-student journalist.
When I arrived at Mizzou for the workshop, I wasn’t the happiest. I just got back from the week-long Missouri Girls State at UCM, and I just wanted to be home. But that feeling soon disappeared. Everyone welcomed me with a big smile, and I knew I was in the right place. As the week continued, the campus and people surrounding me felt like home. I loved everything about Mizzou and the journalism program there; it seemed like the perfect place for me.
I was one of 27 students attending MUJW, so it was a very exclusive program to be a part of. Sophie Koritz, a member of the Washington High School’s newspaper The Advocate, and I were the only participants from Washington to attend the workshop, so there were plenty of new people to connect with. This aspect placed me out of my comfort zone, but I was willing to take a risk.
The whole purpose of this workshop was to get real-life journalism experience, so all 27 of us spent the six days going around downtown Columbia, searching for stories to tell. I was in a group with two other students and an adviser to mentor us.
We decided to cover a story about immigration to America since it was forefront in the news. The girl in my group was also a broadcast student, so we decided to produce a broadcast story while the other person in a group did a newspaper article about the topic. We had four out of the six days to complete our stories for the Columbia Missourian website, so we spent most of the days and nights in the J-school, diligently working on our stories.
When we weren’t working on our stories, we attended informational sessions regarding journalism skills, ethics, and tips. We also had the privilege to watch multiple documentaries and Skype or talk in person with the creator to experience a one-on-one connection with how the whole journalism process works.
Aside from the journalism aspect, I made lifelong friends from this experience. We all had a common interest, so naturally, we all connected as soon as we met each other. We endured a lot with each other from this opportunity that helped each of us grow.
From late night runs to Insomnia Cookies to dance battles in the dorm rooms, these individuals were some of the most determined and genuine people I have ever met in my life. I still keep in contact with many of them today and constantly talk about our journalism problems.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity and the values I received from this experience. I gained a great sense of independence and responsibility from this workshop. Being able to write and produce a story on any topic we wanted and explore Columbia by ourselves, provided me with a sense of ownership I’d never encountered before. I would never trade this experience for anything the world; I truly cherish it.
MUJW not only led me to the school of my dreams, but it was also very eye-opening and further fueled my fire to become a journalist.