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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcat outlet to learn, gain real-world experience

    In President Ann Weaver Hart’s recently unveiled “Never Settle” strategic plan, she pushes for 100 percent student engagement — getting students real-world experience. We at the Daily Wildcat couldn’t agree more. Students at the Wildcat have been gaining hands-on experience since before Hart was even born.

    Students here learn to interview, work as a team, hone creative skills and get up to speed on the latest technology, among other accomplishments. And students don’t just work in the editorial department — they also help out on the advertising and production side of the news-making process here.

    Joey Fisher, our current design chief and a journalism junior, said that everything she has learned about news design, she learned in the year-and-a-half she’s spent at the Wildcat. As a result, she was offered an internship with Gannett Company for the summer.

    But this doesn’t only apply to journalism students, or those interested in a newspaper job after graduation. Real-world experience is essential for every student, regardless of your field. It’s tempting in college to only focus on improving your drinking game skills, but they aren’t something you can necessarily apply after graduation. (Unless what you want to do is dedicate your whole life to competing in the World Series of Beer Pong, and if so, then by all means have at it.)

    My freshman year I learned that Thursday was the new Friday, avoiding Friday classes was a must and the hill by the Administration building was the best place to take a nap after a long night out. But if I could do it all over again, I would have started working at the Wildcat sooner.

    Two years of working here has provided me with experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The late nights, massive responsibility and stressful issues count for something. This is it. This is the real world.

    The Daily Wildcat has been “raising hell since 1899.” Archived copies of its issues line the shelves of our conference room, and opening one of the books could yield the names of reporters many of us are familiar with today.

    Ryan Finley, editor-in-chief of the Daily Wildcat in fall 2001 and now sports editor for the Arizona Daily Star, said he learned more at the Daily Wildcat than he ever did in school.

    “The reason I’m in journalism now is because I had so much fun doing it when I was at the Wildcat,” Finley said. “You work there long enough, you tend to see everything, and when you get out into the real world it’s just not scary anymore because you’ve experienced so many things in college. I wish more majors and programs had something like the Wildcat so people could have as much fun and learn as much as we did.”

    Yes, we are just students and that means some people might take us less seriously, but it shouldn’t affect how we feel about our abilities. We are in charge of our own futures, and if we don’t take advantage of these stepping stones, we’ll fall behind the pack. Jobs won’t wait for you to prepare yourself.

    Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter who is in the Daily Wildcat Alumni Hall of Fame, cited the Wildcat as the place where he learned how to be a reporter and how to be aggressive. Shouldn’t everyone feel as prepared when they graduate?

    Hart wants students to be workforce-ready, and the campus newspaper is one of the many options students have to make this happen. A degree is no longer enough, so put in the work and make your time at the UA count, whether it’s at the Wildcat or somewhere else.

    The Wildcat gave me the skills I applied to my summer internship at the Oakland Tribune and the experience I will need to pursue journalism after I graduate in May. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find your Daily Wildcat in your time at the UA.

    Brittny Mejia is the editor-in-chief.Follow her @BrittnyAriel.

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