It feels as if I’ve been writing correspondence from the trenches for the last three years – dodging angry Germans and eating spare dog meat when I can. But that’s simply not true. I’m in my second quarter at Whatcom Community College, trying to keep up with multiple social media sites, and occasionally doing a story for the student paper.
I’ve come to grips with reality this quarter, and have truly seen myself in the shoes of a journalist. I realize for the first time that because of my career choice, I will forever be “that weird guy taking pictures,” probably in the corner of a room, or maybe in your face if your unfortunate enough.
While community college’s CAN in fact be interesting places, they aren’t tourist traps, so anyone holding a camera is usually singled out pretty quickly as a:
a) a pervert
b) a beautiful genius
c) a terrorist.
I really like to think of myself as a beautiful genius, but as I said before, I’ve come to grips with reality.
Because not all journalists are a, b, or c, Cutter, our esteemed purple-haired-Chief-of-the-Editors, procured press IDs for the whole staff of the Horizon. I don’t know how he did this, but I am eternally grateful.
And even though my spiffy new press ID establishes my credentials as an official WCC journalist, I have realized a few strange things about it. For one: it makes me into someone slightly different (dare I say cooler?). Two: obnoxious people who think they are great sources will flock to me, and proceed to tell me everything that is irrelevant to my story. Three: The people I need to talk run away from me.
When I put my press ID around my neck I feel like Frodo slipping on the Ring of Power. To some I am obviously a bad ass, who probably knows some people in high up places (so you might wanna watch out); to others I am a rascal. A pest. A weasel noodling around the scene with my thick rimmed glasses and nasally voice.
Well whatever, maybe that’s true for some. For me, the press ID is a tool – maybe even a weapon. I can be the weirdo taking pictures when I need to remain inconspicuous, and then morph into the seasoned reporter when I have to. It’s all a game of perception… but what isn’t?
Don’t worry, I won’t get too deep.
In coming to grips with my identity as a journalist I have realized just another aspect of why I appreciate this job: I get to pretend I’m a spy.