Journalism has been a significant interest of mine since high school. At one point, I even considered attending a journalism school! When I decided to come to Princeton, I knew that even if I didn’t want journalism to be my career, I wanted it to be a part of my life. To this end, I joined the Daily Princetonian, our campus newspaper, and Business Today, a business and current-events magazine, my first semester at school.
What I wasn’t aware of until later on in my first year was that I didn’t have to go to J-school to take journalism classes—there are several offered at Princeton every semester! When I learned of this, I rushed to sign up for one. Six months later, and I’m almost done with my semester in JRN 447: Politics and Media: Covering the 2018 Midterm Elections.
One of the coolest things about this class is that it included an all-expenses-paid, week-long trip over fall break, to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Arizona was one of the most significant battleground states in the 2018 midterm elections, and we traveled there in order to compile video stories about a few different angles of the exciting Congressional races taking place there. These all-expenses-paid trips encourage many students to try a journalism class before graduating.
I was a bit nervous before the trip; I hadn’t been on a plane since I was seven years old (something that is hard for my friends here from the West Coast or overseas to believe!) and had little experience traveling without my family. I needn’t have worried—traveling was easy, and the trip was unbelievably fun.
My project group and I were tasked with compiling a story about the female swing vote in two of Arizona’s midterm contests: the Senate race for Jeff Flake’s open seat and the House seat in the 2nd Congressional District. We interviewed a variety of fascinating figures from around the state, even including one of the two House candidates (and eventual winner of the race) we were covering! Although I had no experience with broadcast journalism before taking this class, getting to talk with such cool people strongly reminded me of my favorite parts of print journalism.
Perhaps even cooler than the amazing journalistic experiences were the wonderful times I had with my classmates and my professor. I didn’t sign up for the class with any friends, but am coming out of it with 10 new ones! Getting to spend so much time with such interesting, unique people who I probably wouldn’t have encountered otherwise was a delightful privilege.
Though the class has a sizeable workload, the multitude of things I’ve learned as well as the wonderful journalistic and interpersonal experiences has made it well worth it! I’m so grateful to Princeton for the experience.