Day #4: What Next?

January 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Phoenix, AZ: After wrapping up the last of the sessions of the Campus Coverage Project on Sunday, it was back to Sky Harbor International and a flight to JFK where yet another major snowfall awaited me. And yet, this time the 5-hour flight back to New York was different.

Falling down the rabbit hole of investigative journalism: The loud thud means you've hit it big!

Four intense days had flown by and I suddenly found myself overwhelmed for the first time in a week, but not by the usual things that make student journalists scratch their heads in frustration.

I kept wondering to myself, what next? Story ideas, which have been and will probably continue to be one of my greatest journalistic weaknesses, were suddenly clawing at me from several directions like a mob of hungry vultures.

My mind continues to race with questions. Which stories do I pursue? What happens after the FOIA request? What happens if my university is perfect? Where do I even start?

Luckily for me, my university is probably as perfect as most other massive institutions with little to no oversight. Just to clarify: I’m not hoping for some kind of scandal or inconsistency in my university, it’s just that something is bound to go amiss in a community of over 20,000 people and an institution in command of millions in funding. And that’s not cynicism talking, it’s just logic.

I like to think of journalists as flashlights that shine on the obscure or darker areas of life that remain unseen from the general public in addition to covering the obvious and the breaking, though I know of plenty other people who continue to think that journalists both start the fire and pull the alarm.

For now, I’m content with simply gathering the most I can about my university until the beginning of the semester at the end of the month. Story ideas are great, but research and reporting are even better.

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