By Julie Pike, Editor-in-Chief
It’s hard to believe this time is nearing, but my time at USM and with the Free Press will soon be ending. Four years of schooling, with three-and-a-half of those years spent with the Free Press, is coming to a close.
I’m so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work with the Free Press and to have gotten to work with some amazing and hard working students. I’ve put a lot of hard work into the Free Press and I’m happy to say that I feel confident that the staff taking over will continue that work.
I started out midway through my freshman year as a staff writer. I remember my first story like it was yesterday. I was assigned to cover a “sex panel” event in Gorham, where students could ask questions to the “sexperts” on the panel and the group leading the event gave out condoms to everyone in the audience. The editor at the time thought it would be a good first assignment for me, to break me out of my comfort zone.
Over my time as a writer I got the opportunity to interview Molly Ringwald when she was stumping for Hillary Clinton, covered a Bernie Sanders rally, wrote about nude modeling at USM and got to learn more about the inner workings of our school.
The Free Press is what inspired me to continue a career in journalism and helped me decide that I wanted to major in communication. I was able to find something that I loved doing.
It’s an incredible opportunity for students to get their first experience in journalistic writing, which is vastly different than the essays we are used to. At the Free Press we are all constantly learning, even those who have been here for years, and we are all helping each other learn as well.
Working at the Free Press doesn’t just mean you learn how to write for a newspaper, you also learn how to work as a team, how to practice journalistic ethics, how to work under deadlines, how to manage your time, how to interview sources and how to work with people, among other valuable skills.
The Free Press is also an opportunity to be a part of USM’s community. By joining a group, you have the chance to make lifelong friends and also provide a service to your fellow students. We exist to inform our community about the important news of our school.
Students who join the Free Press can get involved in writing, editing, photography, graphic design, advertising sales, marketing, web and social media. There’s so much that goes into making a weekly paper and it’s truly a team effort. Each student is contributing to that.
I encourage anyone who wants to get more involved at USM, learn about what goes into making a newspaper, or get to work with a great group of students, the Free Press is the place for you.