Want to get teens’ attention? Talk
I participated in Career Day at
Alvarado Intermediate School in Rowland Heights on Feb. 6. Aside from
journalism, the professions represented were cosmetology, forensic
science, acting, event planning, police, firefighting and real
I tried to explain how news gets into
the newspaper. Since I had to do the presentation three times, I
tried to use three different examples of an event that a community paper would
potentially write about. First, it was, Let’s say we got a press
release from your school about the new iMacs that are in front of you
right now. The reporter will call your principal and try to get some
more information about the computers. Yawn. Then in the other
session, I said, How about we write about your Career Day?
Double yawn. In the other session, which had the more outspoken
students, I had a brilliant idea: Let’s say the reporter is
sitting at his desk and he gets a call. The caller says, ‘Hey, did
you know police officers are taking Britney Spears to the mental
hospital right now?’ Bingo!
I got the most interaction from the
students when I talked about Britney Spears and the paparazzi. I
don’t blame them. Why should they ask me if I thought we were heading
for an economic recession? Or who I thought would win Super Tuesday?
Instead, they asked me why magazines printed rumors like Hannah
Montana being pregnant.
They had different reasons for wanting to become journalists someday but the one thing they had in common was that they loved to write. They knew the difference between rumors and news, but wanted to ask why rumors get passed off as news anyway. They laughed when I told them the newspaper once printed
barbecued children instead of barbecued chicken.
They wondered about how much
journalists make. I laughed before I gave them an answer: You go
into journalism not for the money. But if you love what you do, if
you have fun doing your job, then the money won’t matter. You adjust
your lifestyle so you can keep doing something that makes your life
worthwhile. *crickets in the room*