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Jack Davis

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My Accidental Love Affair-Turned-'Aha Moment' with Journalism

Posted: 01/09/12 09:35 AM ET

Growing up, most of my friends always knew what they wanted to do when they grew up. I did not. When I was in kindergarten I wrote on a poster that I wanted to be a police officer or a librarian, but after that it was all a little up in the air. I knew I had a lot of schooling ahead of me to figure out what was what. That's an integral part of whom I am, always wondering but willing to see what is out there and go with the flow.

Tonight, I have decided what I am going to do with the rest of my life. I want to be a journalist. Why, you might ask, why would I want to pursue a spot in an industry set for its demise? I would answer in complete disagreement to what you asked, communicating to you the passion that lies behind journalism that will fuel it to great heights once more. As I think about this, I can't help but look back on how all of this came together, on an unexpected path and through many chance circumstances. I now know what I want and I am confident.

I stumbled across journalism in a funny way. It was the second semester of my sophomore year of high school when my swim coach asked if I wanted to be the student liaison to our local newspaper, reporting the scores and highlights of our swim meets. I jumped at that opportunity and I began emailing updates from our swim meets to the local paper. I started to enjoy it and began sending little write-ups of what was going on instead of the facts. That led to me writing full-length articles on the swim team, which led to me being assigned independent articles. And just like that, I had fallen into journalism. I had fallen in love.

I continued to write with them through the school year and into the summer when I began to look for a summer job. I first went to the newspaper I had been writing with. Unfortunately, their offices were full but wanted me to write from home part-time. That same day, I reached out to a family friend who runs a popular parenting website, seeing if she needed any help around the office. She asked what I could do. Well, I sought real-life work experience, I was good with computers, social media, Internet stuffs, and well, writing. The latter clicked with her because she had seen my articles in the newspaper. So on my first day of work, I sat down expecting anything and funny enough, I began to write. I was to cover current events for their website, focusing on what was important to parents. So with this I began to write six to eight 300 word articles every day on what was going on in the world. This section was all me. Once again I had fallen into journalism and fallen in love. Sound familiar?

As the summer went on, I began to realize just how much I enjoyed this. It was the rush around the final Casey Anthony verdict that helped me to realize what exactly I love about it. The verdict was to be announced soon and I was ready. In one window I had a live feed of CNN, the other Twitter. The minute she was called 'not-guilty,' I ran down the hall to tell the managing editor, who quickly turned me back around to begin writing. Looking back, I can't help but remember how I excited I was that covering a 'breaking news situation.'

A few weeks ago, I was telling my uncle, who is the managing editor of financial news source, how much I liked journalism. He asked me what it was about journalism that I liked. Essentially, I told him what I had written above, but couldn't really explain it past that.

After watching Page One: Inside the New York Times, I feel I have a better grasp of what this crazy thing called journalism is that I fell in love with. All of this sort of 'clicked' when I watched the documentary. It showed me that although journalism is in the messed up state that it seems, the people at the core of it are passionate to grind out news that they are known for, continue to keep the world informed and continue to do what they do best. I found it both inspiring and jaw-dropping. This just clicked within me. I want to be a journalist when I grow up. And work for the New York Times.