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Allan Joseph | Thursday, October 7, 2010

I left The Observer offices in the basement of South Dining Hall at 2:30 a.m. one morning this fall, and as I reached South Quad and its wonderful cell phone reception, I received a text from my girlfriend that, in a not-as-family-friendly way, asked “Why the heck do you do it? You’re a pre-med. You don’t want to be nor will you ever be a journalist.”

As I walked back to the greatest of all university residence halls, St. Ed’s (we have a Yacht Dance), I was left pondering the question myself. After all, Shivani has a point. I could easily spend many hours a week working in a research lab or doing other stereotypical pre-med things instead of covering sports for this venerable publication; in fact, those things were probably more prudent. There’s a reason I choose to do what I do … but what is it?

It certainly isn’t the occasional perks that come along with sports writing, like covering a football game or two from the press box or going on the far-too-rare trip with a team to the postseason. As nice as they are, they’re usually outweighed by the tedium of laying out pages and writing Observer staff reports about less-glamorous sports.

As any Observer worker will tell you, it’s definitely not the pay.

In this day and age of Google News, Twitter and other Internet sources, it’s not the pride that comes with producing the primary source of news on campus.

I don’t work for Viewpoint, so I don’t have the joy of producing the section of the paper that is easily the second-most-desired invitation on campus (behind the aforementioned Yacht Dance, of course).

If it’s not any of those things, you may ask, what is it? The answer came to me as I walked past the brightly lit Dome. It’s the same reason that most of the students on this campus sacrifice hours of sleep for some activity or another (except for my roommate, who does standup comedy only for the attention). In fact, it’s the same reason I chose to come to Notre Dame: the people.

From the ever-entertaining (and ever-distracting) Molly Madden, to the always-helpful Meaghan Veselik and the ray of sunshine that is Molly Sammon, from the easily-amused-past-1 a.m. Laura Myers, to even the perpetually grumpy (in a usually funny way) Douglas Farmer, the people that work and write for The Observer make it more enjoyable than an underpaying timesuck should be.

Matt Gamber may be a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to laying out pages, and the rest of the Ed Board might have high standards for story quality, but the time I put into this publication is more than worth it thanks to the people with whom I work. There are many whom I didn’t mention … but the fact is, even at 2:00 a.m., The Observer is a great place to be.

Just ask my interhall writers.


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Allan Joseph at [email protected]