On the hunt

Enjoy knowing your peers like we do

Sara Entezar

It’s not easy being journalists: the role requires ordinary students to embark on peculiar expeditions, searching for the hidden gems we dub newsworthy pitches. A newsworthy pitch is a story idea virtuous enough to present to the public, serving as a badge of the publication’s integrity. Not all published pieces can pride themselves in being newsworthy, as any publication will admit, but the pitches which entice even the goddess Aergia (the Greek God of laziness) to indulge in the untold stories of the public — those are what make the art of journalism fruitful.

The search for a newsworthy pitch can be long and tedious. “We need a short, junior male who is allergic to broccoli.” The hunt is unmatched, and, after two weeks and 14 suggestions, it turns out to be futile (shocker, we know). Other times, the search doesn’t extend much longer than a single Facebook message or email request, with replies shooting down inquiries to investigate before there even begins a chance to load our investigative weaponry. The gunfight, sometimes, is short lived.

But for us journalists, the chase is the thrill behind the art. To seek a newsworthy pitch is to seek the perfectly fitted individual. To most, this entails an interview with the president of FBLA or with the alumnus who volunteers to train the Speech and Debate Club. And don’t get us wrong, those individuals surely possess the storytelling potential of the great Homer, but there are only so many unique ways to articulate a story about the same individual.

We’ve adapted a different approach. Did you know the kid who sits behind you in class knows how to make bread without a recipe? Or that the girl in your chemistry class just recently immigrated to the U.S.? Or that your best friend especially values Christmas? At first, we didn’t know either.

What starts as a “My friend knows…” molds into a “I heard that…” which evolves into a “Did you know…” which resonates as a “You will not believe…” and finally lands at the forefront of a young journalist, eager to seek out those individuals who, beyond the diffident participation of the classroom, silently carry some of the most idiosyncratic experiences with them. It’s up to us to transfigure those experiences into the words that grace our website, magazine and social media accounts.

The path for a newsworthy individual to catch our attention isn’t always complex: simple eavesdropping may just be the largest source of newsworthy pitches. Sure it may be invasive, but that’s the beauty of journalism! Be it on the way to class, or while waiting in line at Quickly or even just seated in your Algebra class, quietly listening in on other people’s conversations will provide you with information you would never have otherwise acquired, and sometimes, even invite you into the conversation. Wait, you scootered two miles to school today? Tell us more.

However, getting those prized pitches requires digging. Disclaimer: this entails sparking conversation with the quiet kid in the corner, but don’t let that scare you away. (They’re probably more afraid of you than you are of them). In fact, we’ve come to learn that the quietest voices carry some of the most colorful stories, subtly revealing an assemblage of untold experiences that have long awaited their feature on the big screen (or page). The dig may seem intimidating, and honestly, sometimes it is. What seems like loose dirt can be a rocky plain that, sending an unwarranted shock with one hit of the pickaxe, is shut down with a “Stop talking to me.” But you’ve seen the movie “Holes.” Keep digging, Stanley — the real treasure awaits.

It’s not easy being journalists, but it sure is exhilarating. If richness were weighed in knowledge, journalists may just be the most affluent bunch of curious minds on the planet. The wealth is not exclusive, let it be known, and with just a bit of investigating, eavesdropping and digging, the knowledge can be found.

On a campus renowned for its obnoxiously studious crowd, we can ensure that the reputations of those same students go beyond the shallow conversations of the classroom. Trust those who do this for a living: a little bit of curiosity will transport a conversation once fixated on drab sleep schedules and test scores to an unprecedented thrill of running a half-marathon or indulging in metal music. We promise, there are enough stories out there for the both of us to do a bit of exploring. Welcome to the world of journalism