Magazine: the place to be

People come from all over the country – the world, even – to attend the Missouri School of Journalism. For a lot of them, it’s a only thing that would have brought them to Missouri. It’s a fly0ver state. It’s the Midwest. The summer’s are humid. But then again, we also have a pretty good J-School. Go figure.

I grew up with the J-School. I remember taking walks through campus with my mother, learning about the archway statues and hearing about the impressive funding for the newly renovated Reynolds Journalism Institute. I had considered leaving Columbia for college and studying fashion design or journalism elsewhere, but none of it really made sense when what I needed was right in front of me.

I’ve always loved storytelling and think it’s the best reason to write – to be a record of the ordinary and the extraordinary and really understanding why we are the way we are. As much as I hate talking about myself, I’m always itching to hear someone else explain exactly why they do something or how they ended up where they are, or even where they want to go. It’s so interesting to let their stories unfold, and to be able to convey that passion or experience through whatever medium is an enormous responsibility but can yield great outcome. Journalists, writers, photographers, documentary filmmakers; we’re all storytellers.

This week in lecture, we heard about what to look forward to in the upcoming years as we move into our interest areas and dive into the field. Nearly two years in and I’m still excited to get to learn the about the resources and tools of the magazine world. Years ago, the goal started off as a dream to work for a glossy fashion magazine (think The Devil Wears Prada, or I’d probably even take Ugly Betty if it meant being a part of a major NYC fashion publication industry). And while my aspirations have changed and I can’t decide between journalism electives or describe where I see myself in 10 years and I’m simultaneously anticipating and dreading writing for the Missourian next fall,  I know going into my interest area that, at least for right now, I’m in the right place.

Walk like an Egyptian

As a journalism student minoring in Textile and Apparel Management, there’s very little overlap in subject matter between the two areas of study. Each emphasis presents to me a different mindset, almost as completely different entities that allow me to focus on one or the other with little synthesis in between. It wasn’t until this past week that my passion for storytelling and affinity for fashion merged in, and outside of, the classroom.

In my Wednesday afternoon History of Western Dress lecture, Dr. Wilson began covering the lifestyles and apparel of Ancient Egypt. This, for the most part, was a refresher from the countless weeks spent on the time period in high school world history classes. However, when we began talking about just how it is that we know what we know about the ancient Egyptians, my interest piqued and the journalism student in me began to analyze the methods in which we document our histories.

Back when Pharaohs ruled their respective kingdoms, religious leaders were the only literate members of society, and it was totally okay to walk around working in the desert nude (oh, such sweet freedom), documentation would take the form of hieroglyphics on stone tablets. The things that people did everyday, trades that were made, weather forecasts and particularly interesting news was all recorded in this way. And it’s a pretty amazing thing to realize that a few thousand years down the road, this information has been unearthed and shared with me in a lecture hall of 200 students on a projected powerpoint slide on the other side of the world.

So, this is a history lesson, right? I may have lost you by now. But there’s a point of relevance that ties back to journalism, I promise you.

See, as a journalist, I’m working to be a historian in my own right. I may not have a sweet position of authority within society like the Egyptian religious leaders had. But as a storyteller, I, too, will hopefully share the histories of my society that may one day help people of the future understand what kind of crazy, complex world we’ve come into and how we’ve shaped it. Maybe hundreds of years from now, students will be appalled (and rightfully so) to learn that it was briefly socially acceptable for women to appear in public wearing leggings as pants. Ultimately, what will we as a society be remembered for?