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David Brooks with student-journalists

Brooks makes impact on student-journalists

N.Y. Times columnist meets with Old Gold and Black staff

During my sophomore year of college, I joined the Old Gold and Black student newspaper. Writing is something I enjoy, and I had a special interest in writing about issues that effect black students, students of color and other underrepresented students on campus.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be lawyer until I got into the habit of writing and turning in articles frequently. My plan to attend law school started to change as I gained an interest in investigating, analyzing and be a voice for others. I now believe that a future in journalism is my calling, yet I still am not sure of what I specifically want to do — print, media or broadcast. I’m also considering marketing, communications, advertising or public relations. Regardless, I know that I will be a writer.

When The New York Times columnist David Brooks came to campus in September, I knew I had my chance. During his visit, Brooks met with classes, gave a public lecture and spent an hour with the staff of the Old Gold and Black.  

The topic of journalism school is important to me. Even as I look at J schools, I'm unsure if I should attend one, and if I do should I attend immediately after graduation. Brooks’ opinion on J school was that “the craft of journalism is something that you can learn on the job,” and that there was no need or requirement to attend. In response to my belief that to flourish as a journalist I need to travel to one of the elite J schools in the northeast, Brooks mentioned that I could either work with a large company and write very little or work with a smaller company and write constantly.

He emphasized throughout our session with him the importance of bringing something special to the table. Anyone can attend journalism school or travel to the northeast, but that doesn’t guarantee an advantage in this career path over people who do not. Sitting there listening to him, I started to wonder what I can do to "stick out," what will distinguish me from the many other aspiring journalists out there.

I appreciate Wofford College for bringing speakers like David Brooks to the campus, and not just bringing them to the campus to speak to big groups; Wofford also makes them available to individual students. As a graduate of the University of Chicago, Brooks wrote for college publications. He's risen in his field thanks to hard work, risk taking and a few lucky breaks. Tapping into his experience is an incredible opportunity.

 

By Essence Buckman ’18