When they say you can’t

Nobody thought I could write a sports column, which is exactly why I had to. People doubted that I knew enough about sports, wondered if I could write well, questioned my ability (or maybe desire) to follow through. My Morning Brew column about a new-found interest in the New York Jets ran in The University Daily Kansan on Sept. 13. My journalism teachers gave me positive feedback — one said it was the best sports column he’d seen in The Kansan this semester — and I finally showed that I can handle more than just the copy desk. The experience left me feeling ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Here’s what’s on my to-do list.

Give an on-air news update
Since The Kansan started sharing a newsroom with KUJH, the student television station, many reporters and editors on the print side have had the opportunity to deliver the station’s hourly news briefs. A co-worker recently told me she was hesitant to ask me to do one because she knew cameras and microphones made me nervous. She’s right, but I can’t let jitters stop me from gaining new experiences in news. Expect to see my video clip soon.

Design newspaper pages
I learned a little bit about design at my internship with the Lawrence Journal-World, but I never felt confident in my abilities and I haven’t designed anything since December. With the help of managing editor Nick Gerik, I’ll be designing a few pages for our homecoming special section next week. My hope is that I’ll be able to design pages for all of my special sections this semester. Many copy-editing jobs also require pagination, so putting in a few extra hours now could really pay off later.

Handle special sections gracefully
Plans are in the works to revive a popular-but-controversial section called Sex on the Hill. I’m still awaiting an official go-ahead from the editor-in-chief, but three professors have already pulled me aside to express their concerns. Long story short: It wasn’t handled well the last time. While some of the faculty would rather not see the section come back, others are just understandably worried that we’ll flub it up again. Everyone will be watching. My success or failure will be on a larger scale than anything I’ve done. The skeptics don’t think I can produce this section tastefully and educationally without sacrificing the entertainment value that appeals to readers. Watch me.

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