Black: Hack reflects on up-and-down relationship with journalism

first_imgI was crying because I was done with journalism.It was freshman year, and I was on the phone with my parents. “I’m done,” I told them, my face so covered with tears that I was getting my phone screen wet. “I don’t want to do it anymore.” Walking back from The Daily Orange in February 2017, I determined journalism wasn’t what I thought it was. I’d just finished my first in-person read, of a story about a men’s club hockey player, with Matthew Gutierrez, a terrifyingly smart sophomore at the time. He tore my story apart. The thousand-word masterpiece that I submitted had been chopped down to a mere 200 words, and I was sent back out for more reporting. Freshman-year Eric was sensitive about his writing. He still is. So I came to what seemed like the logical decision: get frustrated about it, cry to my parents and quit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs I turned the corner of Ostrom Avenue and Euclid Avenue and headed toward Sadler Hall, my freshman-year dorm, they tried to calm me down. I was just getting started, they said. Give it a chance, they said. I dismissed them. That’s what parents have to say. I kept crying, shielding my face from passersby. By the time I got back, eyes red and irritated, there was no doubt in my mind. I didn’t know what journalism was as a freshman. I think I do now. Journalism is writing staff report upon staff report for track and field and filling in on tennis coverage when needed. It’s coming to Syracuse early sophomore year to cover women’s volleyball, a sport I’d never watched, with David Schneidman, a kid I’d never met.  Journalism is covering the women’s ice hockey team. Media ops every week. Games every weekend in an absolute igloo of an arena that ensured that every single one of your fingers and toes would be numb by the time the game ended. Then the walk from Tennity Ice Pavilion to Goldstein Student Center to write, which meant treks through blizzards. Journalism is cathartic. My aunt died at the end of April my sophomore year, the day before I had my first-ever sit-down interview. I figured if I ever wanted to be a legitimate journalist, I’d have to be good at sit-down interviews. So I did it. And for 30 minutes out of a weekend in which I thought my world was ending, everything seemed okay. Journalism is going to work every day with dozens of your friends and classmates, all juggling their own responsibilities, all dealing with their own personal issues, all working to put together a newspaper. Journalism is spending time with your best friends. Even if they’re loud and obnoxious and sometimes even smell. Even if they try to explain lacrosse to you as if they know everything about the sport and you don’t, which wasn’t the case. Even if, while driving somewhere on I-81 in the middle of Virginia, they crack the window. Journalism is being scared to death that every time you open your mouth to ask a question, you’ll stutter or say something wrong. It’s being so nervous you’ll mess up that sometimes, you don’t even ask your question. Journalism has been the constant during the past decade of my life, for better or worse. It’s why I came to Syracuse, it’s why I considered leaving as a freshman and it’s why I stayed. This past fall, I covered Syracuse’s last football game of the season, a thrilling 39-30 overtime win over Wake Forest. Since I wouldn’t be on a beat in the spring, it was my last-ever coverage for The D.O. And I was covering it by myself, which meant two game stories, which meant staying in the Carrier Dome for hours after the game ended. By the time I left the stadium, it was already 8 p.m. And as I pushed myself out the air-lock doors, I cried. I full-on sobbed. And for a few minutes, I didn’t know why. I figured it had just been a long day, but that normally wouldn’t do it. I was crying because I was done with journalism. For good this time. And I’m really going to miss it. Eric Black was a senior staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column will no longer appear. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @esblack34.– 30 — Comments Published on April 25, 2020 at 11:56 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img