The Graphic Details
By Lindsey Boerma
A vortex-like room is rumored to exist on the Malibu campus, where students and faculty alike seem to walk inside and never return. Its inhabitants do not operate on the nine-to-five clock, and they resist the call of basic human necessities such as sleep, food, or social interaction. If you’re quiet, on Thursday morning at 4 a.m. you just might hear a collective groan echo through the CCB halls, as the flickering automatic lights mock those who are still awake to notice.
Melodrama aside, for those of us who know the routine it’s a strikingly accurate depiction. This infamous place is the Graphic newsroom. I have come to know and love it, and it’s that to which I’ve chosen to devote the last semester of my college career.
So far I’ve made it through without much damage. On occasion I’ve dragged myself to an 8 a.m. class after an all-nighter in the newsroom, replacing the hackneyed “dog ate my homework” routine with an all-too-triumphant assertion of, “Well, I don’t have my assignment, but at least I remembered my toothbrush!” But for all it takes out of me, the Graphic has also done for me what no other college experience has.
There’s something incomparably satisfying about seeing members of your community read and respond to (either favorably or unfavorably) something to which you’ve so tenaciously dedicated your time and energy; in wholly immersing yourself in that which comes to both produce and direct public dialogue.
A few years ago, I read Anderson Cooper’s book, Dispatches from the Edge. His synopsis of the journalism profession—of what fuels us to put ourselves through what we do—was spot-on. “There’s nothing like that feeling,” he wrote. “You run toward what everyone else is running from, believing your camera will somehow protect you, not really caring if it doesn’t. All you want to do is get it, feel it, be in it.”
And that’s what we live for. Especially now, amid morbid whispers of that “dying” art of print, we aspiring journalists hurl whatever remains of our free time into new and integrated aspects of news media.
On January 5, the Wall Street Journal issued its report of the “Best and Worst Jobs of 2010.” Its message essentially informed me that the many thousands of dollars I just put toward a journalism degree perhaps might have been better spent learning how to wash dishes, apply drywall, or make shoes. But, even as I tip my hat to those makers of shoes, we “Graphic kids” aren’t going away. Our vocation derives from something much more weighty than fiscal consideration—that surge of adrenaline that strikes us at the most unexpected yet aesthetically opportune moments—and we’re in it for the long haul.