In reality, journalism is — and will continue — experiencing a significant shift in the way it is delivered to its viewers. Online content has become a go-to source for many news seekers, as well as a forum for interactivity between the news outlet and its audience. My second news organization is experiencing just that.
Recently, the Nevada Sagebrush editors (myself included) held a meeting with various executives from similar outlets of information to help choose our next editor-in-chief. As we weighed the pros and cons of each candidate, I realized an applicant who presented herself as an outsider was our chance to appoint a significant change in the way we handle ourselves as a news organization.
However, we chose the route bearing tread marks. We chose someone who has served his hours in our office, experiencing the flustering threat of deadlines and understanding the way things work in our office. Basically, we fear change.
The interesting part was the candidate who outright said that news organizations are afraid of change was the victor and the actual change we failed to embrace lay in the hands of the other candidate. We did not have the guts to leap off the edge and hope that our readers would understand that we are trying to instill new ideas that will benefit them in the long run.
This trepidation we feel in our news organization affects our daily lives. We hate to look around a corner when we are not sure what is on the other side, but we fail to realize that we could be missing an opportunity that could lead to something extraordinary. When I took my current photo editor position at said news organization, I was massively under qualified. My application vaguely said I own a camera and I have used it before and I wouldn’t mind helping with photos. I wound up taking on a major responsibility. Though I have found the job overwhelming and frustrating, it has opened doors to new opportunities I wouldn’t have thought possible otherwise. The view from under the hoop as the best high school player in the country soared for a 360-dunk and being on the court for the net cutting signifying Nevada’s WAC championship were just the beginning of rewards to be reaped from leaping without looking.
Of course, I am afraid to fail. Who isn’t? That is the best reason imaginable for not attempting something you are not sure will pan out in the end. The question you have to personally debate is whether or not you have the courage to risk walking into the realm of the unknown. It is very possible that a new opportunity is a trap, specifically designed for you to fail and leave yourself pondering why you thought taking a chance on something new was a good idea — but I doubt it. You have to be willing to come up short and suffer the agonizing defeat of personal failure because without it you will never have the chance to prosper. The failure and hurt are what make success so great.
Garrett Valenzuela is a reporter at the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.