A few days ago, I was sitting in my high school journalism class, daydreaming while the teacher droned on about inverted pyramids and leads, when I suddenly thought to myself, “What in the hell am I doing here?” I quickly remembered that I needed to take this in order to pass, but it got me thinking on a bigger scale.
Journalism, or at least a pretty good imitation of it, has really exploded over the past couple of years. Countless people are blogging, shoving their thoughts and opinions on what is happening or what they’re thinking about onto anyone who cares enough to click. Sites like Squarespace, WordPress, or, that’s right kids, Bitmob are letting people disseminate what would otherwise be left fermenting inside their heads.
So, with all of these competitors out there, what is the only way to succeed? Find something about yourself that nobody else has, and use it for all it’s worth.
Guess what doesn’t teach you how to do that? That’s right, journalism classes.
Granted, certain things are necessary to learn in order to be readable, such as writing leads or doing research. The thing that gets me annoyed about these classes is that we have already covered this, and we still have three months left in the school year. That means that for the rest of the year, we’ll be learning about “How to Write an Op-Ed” or “How to Write a Restaurant Review”, all of which will be useless, since we’ll all be writing the same thing, unless we want an F.
So, what do I suggest? Don’t change journalism classes. Get rid of them altogether. If you want to write better leads or need tips on researching, there are hundreds of guides online for free. Other than that, the best way to learn how to write is to read what other people are writing, and think of ways that you could do it better or different.
Better or different are the only two things that can make your writing stand out (better and different—now that’s even better!).And unless your writing stands out, you’ll just fade into the background noise of the blogosphere.
This is why I love Bitmob so much. It actually one-ups what I suggested earlier; not only does it let you read the work of other writers, but you get to practice writing yourself and develop a voice, another necessity to stand out.
So come on, Board of Education. Get rid of Journalism class. We won’t get anything useful out of it that we can’t get from a quick Google search or a website like Bitmob. Free up some room in our schedule for something useful, like… oh, I don’t know…. Videogame Appreciation?