Blog: Stories, blisters and cell phone receptions

By Katie Chen, J Camp Live! staff

Journalists tell the best stories because after all, it is a part of their job. This is something I realized during my first few days at J Camp in Chicago. No matter how many people we listened to from the industry, all of them had unique tales to share.

We’ve listened to several speakers from around the journalism industry: reporters, photographers, broadcasters.  I feel like all of the speakers have given us a better view of the industry. I particularly enjoyed hearing from three women in broadcast journalism, which had never interested me before.

Ana Belaval from WGN shared her story of going from being a Spanish speaking reporter and switching to English speaking networks. She proved to us that there is room for humor in reporting. Lourdes Duarte, also from WGN, talked to us about the danger that comes with being a reporter. Her story of how someone once put a gun to her head shocked me because I had never considered that risk before.

I found that I could easily relate to Dr. Mona Khana, a woman who practiced medicine before turning to journalism. Medicine and journalism have always been two of my interests so it was wonderful to hear her say that it was all well worth the extra wait and work.

One guest speaker inspired and moved everyone. John White, a photographer from the Chicago Sun-Times, made an impression on everyone and was able to do so not only with his photographs, but also with his words. He told us of his challenges in his career and how he had been able to move beyond these.

 “Never let them rest until your good is better and your better best,” White said.

They were simple words, but this only made him more captivating. Everyone was completely mesmerized by him and what he said really meant a lot to some people in the room.

We haven’t spent everyday inside. On Sunday we were given the difficult task of going to the New Maxwell Street Market to discover stories on our own. The time constraint, language barriers, and the blisters that were forming on my feet made this assignment easier said than done. Despite these problems, my partner, Jessica, and I managed to interview four different people at the market, get rejected by 6, and drink the best piña coladas ever (non-alcoholic, of course). Our story didn’t turn out too shabby either.

I think we’ve all come a long way from the people we were when we came here. I know I’ve gotten to know everyone better. And I’m happy to say that my roommate, Octaviar and I have moved past the epic question of, “Who’s better? Mariah Carey or Leona Lewis?” to now complaining about how poor cell service is on the 13th floor of the Loyola dorm. I’ve also learned a few lessons along the way (for one, not to go against what mom says and wear pretty shoes on long walks).

Although I can’t say that I’ve had a sudden epiphany and realized that journalism is the career for me, I know that J Camp has been an experience that I will never forget.

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