Name: Mariana Alfaro
College newspaper: The Daily Northwestern
Where I am now: Incoming James Reston Fellow at The New York Times
The Daily Northwestern has made me who I am as a journalist. I took my first serious steps as a reporter there, met some of my best friends in the world, made errors, learned how to fix them, and had the opportunity to write stories that opened doors in my career.
I know student newsrooms can be flawed. No student newspaper is claiming to be perfect. The Daily is not. But what I’ve found in our tiny newsroom has been a world of learning and support for my career in journalism. The Daily convinced me that journalism is what I want to do in my life, and I’ll forever be grateful to it for all the opportunities it has given me.
Name: Jim Ross
College Newspaper: The Daily Northwestern
Where I Am Now: Managing editor/columnist Ocala Star Banner
I worked for my college newspaper all four years. That is where I learned how to report and write a news story, how to line edit other writers’ work, how to supervise a staff — how to be a journalist.
The experience was invaluable. It brought to life everything that I learned in the classroom. It helped me get newspaper internships and, eventually, a full-time job. Twenty-nine years later I’m still in the business.
Many of my best college friends came through the newspaper. When you work that closely with people, under that kind of daily pressure, for that long, you become very close.
College newspapers are great training grounds and great places to make lifelong friends. They also serve a valuable purpose on campus. Who else will tell the school community what’s really going on? How would administrations act if they didn’t know they were being watched?
Student newspapers need and deserve our support, and I’m happy to do my part.