Wick Communications

Passing on the passion

In journalism on March 19, 2010 at 8:15 am

Matt Lindberg is a newswriter and paginator for the Daily Press in Montrose. A couple weeks ago he was asked to speak to journalism students at Olathe Middle School there on the Western Slope of Colorado. He subsequently penned the following, which the newspaper paired with a couple columns from students who heard him speak. I thought the whole deal was a wonderful idea and Matt said I could reprint it here. — Clay

Unless you’re Tom Brokaw or Katie Couric, journalism isn’t a glamorous profession. It’s hard work, sometimes 24/7, gathering information, developing leads into stories or dead-ends, and keeping the readers informed.

Countless other tasks come with the responsibility of being a journalist, but nothing beats working your tail off and putting out a product in which you can take pride each day.

I feel truly blessed to be able to write for a living. So seeing that passion for journalism among Olathe eighth-graders is exhilarating…

Judy Hauger’s students at Olathe Middle School sought my insights (recently), posing some great questions, such as:

• How do you make a story interesting?

• What are some things you always make sure to do?

• Why are you a reporter?

• How do you stay objective?

These are all questions I’ve asked at one time or another of a professor, colleague or editor. This time, I did my best to answer these questions and share my excitement about journalism.

But these kids didn’t need me to inspire them. They showed up during their lunch hour to get some tips because they wanted to. They asked questions because they want to learn. They write because they want to inform their community. These are characteristics of a good journalist.

As someone who has been in their shoes, I’m thrilled to see them pursue our mutual passion. My parents encouraged me to pursue writing as a career, and they still push and encourage me. I am also fortunate to have the support of my wife, friends, family, professors and colleagues, who are a driving force in my career and life.

The eighth-grade girls I met in Olathe — Brittany Loveless, Brooke Cryer, Talisha Marchbanks, Katrina Abts, Chiana VanMeter and Kayley Archuleta — are on the right track.

They’re dedicated, full of potential and eager to learn. They still have plenty of time before they have to begin thinking about what they want to do for a living. But I hope that whatever they decide to do in life, they will do what they love. And, like all the people who helped me along the way, I will be remembered as one of many people who encouraged them to pursue their dreams.

If any of them do pursue journalism as a career, they’re in for a wild ride. It can be stressful, but it’s rewarding. And the ride is never dull.

Matt Lindberg

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