My first assignment for this paper was a feature. I wrote about the captain of the women’s tennis team. It was the first article I had ever written for anyone. Once I submitted the piece for editing, I was unclear what to expect. I assumed that if it were well written, I would receive praise and a pat on the back. Maybe the person I wrote about would be so flattered and satisfied with the piece that they would offer appreciation to me themselves. That never happened.
I’ve come to realize that perhaps there is a little awkwardness in approaching a writer after they have judged and analyzed you, and displaying their findings to the public. Or maybe I just suck at writing. The latter may be the more reasonable explanation, seeing as they have made me take photos for two years. Regardless, I became content with the thought that if assignments were sent my way, I was getting the job done.
I feel that improvement has been made in all areas of my game. I am happy to say that I stand on the other side of a college career more enamored with journalism than ever before. I won’t be going in the print industry specifically, but I will take the lessons I have learned with pen and paper and apply them to any career I obtain.
The art of interviewing a person has become the most useful weapon in my arsenal. There is the art of making a person feel comfortable talking to you, and subsequently making sure you don’t exploit that comfort. I have had people cry, laugh and become aggravated in response to my questions. Apparently, I have asked the correct follow-ups, because no one has ever walked out. Yet.
Now, it’s time to thank people. First are the teachers (because some of you may still control my fate). Whether we met in the classroom once or on multiple occasions, I thank you.
Since the minute I walked onto campus, The Springfield Student advisor, Marty Dobrow, has been a mentor and a friend. Although his time has been split between writing feature pieces for ESPNBoston.com, publishing a book and beginning a managerial career in amateur baseball, his students have always remained first priority.
For the past two years, I had the privilege of being advised by Kyle Belanger, who joined the faculty in 2010. With his help, and the aid of board members and fellow DJ’s, I believe we have turned WSCB 89.9 into a desirable place for all the radio-heads on campus. Throughout the past year, he has played a vital role in getting me established in the radio industry.
For all the advice, whether it pertained to school or not, infinite thanks goes out to KB and Marty.
To my family and Katie, thanks for your unlimited love and support. School wouldn’t have been worth attending without my friends and roommates. And finally, a huge thanks goes out to the editors and layout crew at The Student. Thanks for making my work much, much better than it actually was, week in and week out.
Ryan Matlack may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org