As I wander through Stony Brook’s nature-filled campus, I search for a feeling to describe this place. My result-oriented self reminds me I came here to become a better journalist. Dark shadows of doubt still hover over my mind.
How exactly does one become a better journalist? Can you feel the transformation as it happens?
So much has happened in the first 24 hours that it would be impossible to chronicle everything accurately. The following is my attempt to capture the sentiment.
The first day is a restless one, filled with refreshed anticipation and summer swelter. Nighttime brings with it searing temperatures into the 90’s. Few are lucky enough to have had a rejuvenating amount of sleep, and most wake up in the morning groggy and bleary-eyed. I belong to the latter crowd, having caught about 4 hours of shut-eye.
Alexandra Weldon, the girl I researched for the Profile Assignment, texts me at 6:42 AM. “How was your sleep last night?”
I reply something along the lines of, “Terrible, I slept at 2:30. How was your sleep last night?”
Alex responds, “5 hours or so. Some of the girls got no sleep at all, though.”
I drag myself to the bathroom, hastily fumbling over my toothbrush as I drag a comb through my hair. Yaw, the boy who dorms next door, enters and greets me with a less than cheery “good morning.” “Guowud mwuornin,” I reply, my toothbrush still jammed in my mouth.
Yaw’s family is from Ghana. His name is pronounced ‘yeow’ and literally translates to “Thursday,” the day of the week he was born.
As the boys corral ourselves out of O’Neill Dormitory, we run into stringent TAs whose job is to immediately interrogate us if we exit out of the wrong door.
Breakfast at East Side Dining Hall is accompanied by copies of New York Post, Newsday, and Daily News. The boys arrive approximately 15 minutes earlier than the girls. We eat our food and sit in silence, broken only by the occasional small talk. The sleepless night has taken its toll on us.
Cathrine Duffy, one of our supervisors, joins us. “This is probably the most relaxing moment you’ll have all week!” she said.
After breakfast, the Greene Team heads to the newsroom, where we learn how to shoot professional-looking photos. Mr. John Conrad Williams teaches us the basics of camera usage, like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, exposure, yada yada yada. I won’t bore you with all the technicalities.
The teaching is interspersed with chances to go outside and practice our newfound techniques. Combining every little element is way harder than I expected.
In the evening, we learn about shooting video with Prof. Rick Ricioppo. His left ear is adorned with a tiny earring that brilliantly reflects the soft overhead studio lights.
By now, most of us are fighting to stay awake, but we forge onward. We are assigned into groups and told to practice various shots. Prof. Ricioppo ties the lesson together with his mantra: “…capture the moment.” Doing what great journalists do.
In our groups, I lack the energy and social skills to form complete sentences. Talking to people is tiring when sleep-deprived.
Everyone’s sort of doing their own thing—capturing their own moments. Despite our differences, we’re all here for the same reason. The experience of discovering a story, whether it be personal or professional, usually isn’t what you expect it to be. That’s the magic of journalism.