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The Highest of the Highs

June 21, 2010

We all have our highs, and Lord knows we all have our lows. But not everyone gets to have the unique joy of experiencing a “journalism high,” which, in my humble opinion, is the highest high one can reach.

What is a “journalism high,” you might ask?

Well, the name is rather self-explanatory. It is the rush of excitement and happiness a journalist receives in the line of work. Now, these highs can come in many shapes and forms, and each journalist never quite knows when the high is approaching — which, quite frankly, adds to the excitement. The highs can come at any moment. They can come from reporting, publishing, seeing your byline, reading comments left on your articles, or simply chatting with colleagues in the newsroom.

I am interning at the LA Times this summer, so naturally, as a young journalist, simply sitting down at my desk and staring at the computer screen in this sacred building is enough of a journalism high to satisfy me for the rest of my career. But the greatest journalism high of my life happened last week — shame on me for only blogging about it now!

I wrote an editorial on vuvuzelas — an unbelievably annoying method of cheering at soccer games. Here is the article:

Strangely, though, although it was one of the greatest feelings in the world to see my article wedged in between editorials from people like Jon Healey and Michael McGough (members of the Editorial Staff at the LA Times), the highest of the highs hit me as the comments on my article came in from readers.

One of the comments said, “So that’s what that god-awful racket that sounds like a pissed-off bee hive is.”

I wanted to cry tears of joy when I read it. The subtext of that comment: Until the reader, whose name was posted as “Bart,” read my article, he didn’t know what the vuvuzela was. After reading my editorial, he knew. I HAD INFORMED SOMEONE! Because he read what I wrote, his perspective was changed! Something new was added to the library of knowledge he stores in his head — courtesy of me!

My aim in journalism is to inform, alter and improve. And if even one of those goals is reached, then my job is done and my LIFE is fulfilled!

Driving home from work that day, even the dead traffic didn’t bother me. I had changed something. I had changed someone. I had made a difference. I was still riding on my journalism high. Traffic? What traffic?

Now, how many people can say that?

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