It has been a dream of mine to work at the Buffalo News for a long time now, but it wasn’t until I actually walked up to the building that I realized that I had never been inside.
My footsteps were loud on the tile as I walked in, and was soon directed toward an old elevator that took me up to the third floor labeled “Editorial”. The elevator stopped, and I walked out, hesitating for a second, debating on reading the words displayed on the wall in large print, but deciding not to as I had been told that Charity Vogel would be waiting for me.
I did, however, stop and stare when I came into view of the newsroom. It was a large, open area, calm at the time, though I guessed that it had the ability to withstand the commotion of breaking news and due dates. And it was cluttered, in the perfect state of organized mess, too-much-information-too-little-time. Just like I hoped it would be.
On the far left side, two men were sitting on a raised platform in front of a video camera. I thought of the ‘editor’s roundtable’ that The Griffin, Canisius College’s student newspaper, instituted this year, and wondered if it was the same.
A lady noticed me and asked if I needed help, and I told her thank you, but I had a meeting with Charity Vogel, and was told that she would meet me there.
A few short minutes later, Vogel came around the corner and through the hip-high gate that separated me from the newsroom. She was very thin, with frizzy light brown hair, and a bookworm vibe, but her personality was far from the stereotypical quiet bookworm. She talked fast and I imagined that she thought even faster. With an insatiable curiosity, she asked me questions as I attempted to keep up. it was easy to see how she got into journalism.
As I got more into the rhythm of the conversation, I asked her questions, finding out more about her feature writing, and the process she uses to get stories.
My favorite part, though, was finding out about the variety of work that she does. While working for the News, she told me that she spends about half of her time in the office, and the other half out of the office gathering information and interviews. As a girl who dreads having a 9-5 where I simply sit in the same seat in front of a computer screen all day, this was music to my ears.
Vogel then went on to explain that she also freelances for magazines that she is interested in, and is writing a book. To her, the options for projects are endless.
I swear there were stars in my eyes. This was my dream.
Most importantly, I asked the big question, one that professionals seemed to be evenly divided on: should I go to graduate school?
“What would you go for?” She asked.
“Journalism,” I answered as if there wasn’t really any other option.
It wasn’t until later that I learned that she had specialized in English, and had gone even further than her Masters to get her Ph.D. as well.
The advice that she gave me was to work in a newsroom. A master’s degree was a lot of money to put into a profession that I wasn’t sure of.
I admit that the closest thing to a newsroom that I have worked at is the Griffin office in the student center, but I have never been unsure about journalism, and the more I learn about it, or do it, the more I fall in love with it.
But I know she is right. It is high time for me to get an internship in the field and gain some more experience.
I learned many things from Vogel in that one conversation, but two things stand out the most. First, that curiosity is one of the biggest tools for a journalist. It can be used to find stories, and report them to the most precise detail. Second, I learned that I didn’t have to stick just in one niche. I could be a newspaper journalist and freelance for a magazine, or write the book that I had been dreaming about since middle school. All I needed to do was have the idea, and the drive to see it through to the end.