I have always loved writing, but I laughed when my mom suggested taking journalism class as I entered high school. I probably said something along the lines of, “The newspaper is boring, Mom.”
My mom got her way, though, and I ended up taking the class sophomore year. We had current events quizzes each week, and I think my highest grade ever on one was a 50 percent. I seemed to make all the wrong decisions during the journalism ethics unit, and I almost lost a mock trial for some of my classmates.
What I’m trying to get at is that, for a long time, I didn’t consider myself a real journalist. I don’t read the New York Times, I don’t watch Fox News or CNN voluntarily, and the idea of approaching someone for an interview intimidates me to no end.
The only sports story I’ve ever written was on Webster Skatesmen for a required grade in journalism class, and I don’t think I’ve ever written a news story. What kind of journalist is that?
Being on Echo with the greatest advisor ever, Donald Johnson, and nothing less than phenomenal editors in chief, Caroline Fellows and Cole Schnell, meant I got to write about what I was passionate about. Furthermore, their continuous support and open minds convinced me I was still a journalist, despite my lack of interest in what you typically think of when you hear “journalism.”
Echo advisor Donald Johnson said my worst quality is “procrastination. Do you disagree?”
No, I agree completely. Everyone on staff knows that I would be producing the first draft of my story on the day before we sent the issue to print.
Cole never yelled at me, though, and I appreciate that. Cole was a great editor-in-chief. I think he knows he will never live up to the legacy of Caroline Fellows, but he came pretty close.
Now on to the “Thank yous.” My siblings, Brett and Ellie, and my business associate, Samuel Robert Getz, have always read my entertainment column and whatever other stories I’ve written, even if they had zero percent interest in the topic. Thank you for that.
My parents rarely agreed with the opinions I expressed in my stories, but they still supported me to no end, so thank you two for that. (However, climate change is real and gun control is important.)
To everyone who I received backlash from after the Friendship DJ story: I never expressed my opinion in the story, and if you would have read it thoroughly, you would know that, but thank you for your criticism. Echo publicity is Echo publicity, whether good or bad.
Lastly, Mr. Johnson, thank you for supporting the ideas I had, whether it was a story about mall Santas, or an issue that only I was interested in. You’re the person that made me a journalist.
Farewell, fair friends and foes of Webster Groves High School. Look out for my wind turbine factory in about 10 years.
This be will Josie Krueger’s second year on Echo staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized by MIPA and JournalismSTL for her work on the Echo.