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My journalistic journey

| Friday, April 20, 2018

Newspapers have always surrounded me. The first news story I’d ever read was about a lost peacock roaming the streets of my hometown, Crown Point, Indiana, when I was in second grade. The only reason I even knew this story existed was because said peacock hopped into my best friend’s backyard and watched us as we swam in her pool. But even then, the concept of a newspaper didn’t make sense to me.

Obviously, someone had to write these stories, but who did it? Clark Kent and Lois Lane? These characters weren’t real, so, naturally, the people who wrote these stories didn’t exist. Eventually, I realized journalists are human beings too. It just never clicked that I could actually be one of those reporters until right before course selections for freshman year of high school. I was privileged enough to attend a school with a wonderful journalism program, and I grew heavily involved with our newspaper, Inklings, throughout my four years in high school.

I officially joined Inklings sophomore year as a reporter, was promoted to Arts and Entertainment Editor junior year, and rose to co-Editor-In-Chief senior year. Journalism encouraged me to learn not only how to interact with others as a teacher and a leader, but it also led me to the realization that I could utilize my passion as a catalyst for good.

As a first year student at Saint Mary’s, I was not expecting to pursue journalism academically. I had signed up for The Observer, marked myself as an intended communications studies major and packed my journalistic dreams up for later. As the semester passed, I learned that I could have the opportunity to work with Professor Susan Baxter to become the pilot student of the College’s major in interactive journalism. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to create this student-designed major as quickly as I could. While the major isn’t official, I have high hopes for its success.

Interactive journalists are also known as backpack journalists because they have all the skills a modern-day writer could need at all times — the knowledge of writing a story, taking a picture, making a video, designing a website and graphics and more. Interactive journalists are furthering the evolution of journalism. They are creating a future for what some believed to be a dying profession when, in reality, it was only changing to become more relevant to the technological world we live in today. This is a future I desire to be a part of.

I realized the best way to prepare for this future was to complete a Notre Dame journalism minor, and that is exactly what I will be doing beginning in the fall of 2018. The application process called for a few stressful tears, but the difficulty proved to be worth it.

By taking the courses that equate to a journalism minor, I will have all the knowledge necessary to utilize what I will learn in the next three years to tell other people’s stories — the stories of those who struggle but deserve to be heard, the stories that will someday inspire others to pursue their passions and make the future one worth writing about.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Maria Leontaras

Maria Leontaras is a senior at Saint Mary's pursuing a student-designed major in Interactive Journalism with minors in mathematics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Maria used to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer when she wasn't busy tweeting about movies and One Direction.

Contact Maria