Column: Why I want to become a professional journalist

I am a sports reporter for NewsWatch at Ole Miss. Photo by A.J. Norwood.

A.J. Norwood
Oxford Stories

Never in my life had I dreamed of being a journalist. At first, all I thought journalists did was write. However, after a few minor events in my life, I realized that traveling the road to becoming a professional and successful journalist was one of the most important decisions in my life.

It all began the summer of my sophomore year in high school. I was on vacation with my family when my mom got a notification on her phone from my school district’s Facebook page. They were adding a new “Foundations of Journalism” class. Students had to apply. My mom thought it would be something great for me, so she encouraged me to apply.

I thought it would be good for my resume, so I applied. Once I was accepted, I learned many things about all aspects of journalism and how to formulate a news story from my journalism teacher, Jeff Eubanks. I also learned many things about photojournalism that has helped me take journalistic photos.

One of the biggest impacts of the class was when we became a broadcast team. I was an anchor for our journalism news team, and that ultimately led me to want to become a professional journalist. Being part of a high school news team inspired me to continue spreading the news about what happens in our world on a bigger platform.

Early during my senior year of high school, I was uncertain about where I wanted to further my education. However, after doing a little research, I discovered that the University of Mississippi has a great journalism school that would allow me to network and pursue my dreams.

I wanted to get involved early and didn’t know how to do that. I didn’t know whether Ole Miss had a journalism team for me to attempt to join, and I didn’t know how to figure that out.

I was unsure about everything until I stopped worrying, and everything fell into place. I stumbled across a few social media posts from a good friend I had just met at the university. The post was about the NewsWatch TV station at Ole Miss and how they were having auditions for news anchors and sports reporters. I thought it was too good to be true, so I jumped at the opportunity.

I went through two auditions and was nervous at both. However, I got past the first round of auditions to advance to callbacks where I was hired as a sports reporter. It was absolutely one of the best moments of my life.

I have learned how things operate in an actual newsroom while making friends and memories to last a lifetime. Not only have I been blessed with those opportunities, I have also been blessed to network with many fantastic people.

I am only a freshman at Ole Miss, so I have plenty of time to think about my future. However, I know exactly what career I would love to have. I know for a fact that attending the University of Mississippi and the School of Journalism and New Media will allow me to do that.

Although I would love to be a professional sports reporter, I would love to be a professional journalist in general. I love to watch people like Stephen A. Smith and Al Roker. People like Michael Wilbon, Maria Taylor, and the late Stuart Scott inspire me. I aspire to be just like them one day.

Being a professional broadcaster is not the only thing that interests me, though. I am also looking into getting involved in sports radio talk shows.

Many people aspire to be doctors and surgeons so that they can save the lives of people. All of that is great. However, I want to be the person delivering the news people want and need to hear right when it happens.

I want to be the person that keeps people updated on breaking news. And for sports fans, I want to be the person that tells people when one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game retires.

When I graduate from the University of Mississippi, I plan to apply to various news stations to follow my dream of being a professional sports reporter. I, of course, hope that will lead to my ultimate goal of working for ESPN or CBS.

I know one day my time will come. There’s an old saying, “If you wait around in the barbershop long enough, sooner or later you’re going to get a haircut.”

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