I don’t normally engage in personal entries on this blog, but as this was somewhat topical, I decided to include it here.
I don’t remember the interview, the interviewee, or the story topic. All I remember is a passing comment:
“In a few years, I’ll look for your name in the Washington Post.”
It was three years ago, or possibly four. I was a journalism student at Fresno State, plugging away at a degree that baffled my parents, my friends and even sometimes myself. I despised reporting. The interviewing process made me incredibly uncomfortable. I was — am — an introvert. I enjoyed telling stories, but the process of gathering them has always been painful for me. I preferred videography and photography because I could hide behind the camera.
I remember laughing at the interviewee’s statement. Journalism students from Fresno State don’t end up at the Washington Post. I wrote the story and it ran in the Collegian. As multimedia editor, I posted it myself that night to the paper’s Website.
I spent the next couple of years playing with the online side of journalism, mostly in an editorial role. I got offered a job as Web editor at the Merced Sun-Star two semesters before I graduated.
“Keep in touch,” he said. I was on cloud nine because someone actually thought my self-taught skills worthy of employment.
Then I decided to go to grad school. I applied to Medill, UC Berkeley, Arizona State. Berkeley’s rejection letter came first. I was crushed.
When I got accepted to Medill, I couldn’t believe they had actually admitted me. I couldn’t believe I was good enough to get in. I also couldn’t believe how expensive it was.
I went to Arizona State instead. It was possibly the best decision I’ve ever made, but that’s another post.
I sent out internship applications the next summer to all sorts of places: everything from the New York Times to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to little dinky papers I’d never heard of.
The little dinky papers were interested.
Journalism students from Fresno State don’t end up at the Washington Post.
I spent the summer as Webmaster for ASU’s News21 program. I knew I’d gotten the job because I was a student at ASU. I doubted they would have hired me if I’d been a freelancer.
Facing graduation this May, I made a concerted effort to get out internship applications early this fall: New York Times, USA Today, Denver Post, Washington Post. I figured I had nothing to lose. I also figured there was no possibility of getting any of them, despite scoring some stellar recommendations. I planned to apply to my second- and third-tier choices over Christmas break.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
I got a call from the Post.
They wanted to interview me.
The Washington Post wanted to interview me.
Today, they offered me the internship.
Maybe there’s hope for a hometown Fresno girl after all.