Student media: difficult but worth it

By The Beacon | January 23, 2014 1:56am

Kelsey Thomas , Beacon Editor-in-Chief|

When I applied to work for The Beacon, I imagined myself in an office on the top floor of Waldschmidt, notebook balanced on my pantsuit-clad legs and pen poised to transcribe an earth-shattering quote.

Instead, during my first week on the job I was wandering around the Commons attempting to find freshmen willing to talk to a crazy girl carrying a notebook and pen.

When I did interview an important official a few weeks later – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales – I was not exactly calm and collected (think heavy-breathing and unexplained-sweating). On the bright side, I also hadn’t morphed into the type of person who wears pantsuits.

So I get it: Working for student media can be intimidating. Most people in college are so used to texting that calling for takeout can be nerve-wracking, not to mention cold-calling professors, administrators and other students asking for interviews. And having your name attached to a story or photo on a paper read by thousands is far more daunting than having your name attached to a tweet read by your 147 Twitter followers, one of which is a cat.

And yes, student media jobs take up a decent amount of time.

But late nights and sweat stains aside, working for The Beacon has been by far the most rewarding aspect of my college experience. I spend every week working with some of the most clever and creative students at UP who have also become some of my closest friends. I have listened to the stories of renowned authors, innovative student engineers, Public Safety officers, P-Plant workers and professors I would never have crossed paths with otherwise. I’ve traveled to New York City and New Orleans for student media conferences. Once I was even offered muffins by an aging man with five cats when I knocked on his door to ask about student parties.

What it boils down to is this: Do you want your time at UP to be brimming with energy, deadline panic, creativity, big ideas, the opportunity to make a difference and a few too many late night puns?  Then check out the hefty Student Media Guide in the center of this paper.

And that call with the mayor? It turned out totally fine. At least, if he noticed my particularly labored breathing he was polite enough not to mention it.

Kelsey Thomas is a senior English major. She can be reached at