“Purposeful accident,” an oxymoron that about sums me up. No … not like that, what I mean is through events that have shaped my high school experience. When I strolled to my first period class my sophomore year, I was under the false impression that Nonfiction was really a fiction class. I pictured reading Harry Potter and analyzing the plot, so when I was instead greeted by the task of conducting interviews and transcribing them, you could imagine my confusion. However, not long into that first class period, I had already fallen in love with the course. From then on, journalism became an essential part of my life—a purposeful accident.
In a room where we pride ourselves on our ability to meet each and every deadline, or boast about such organized story planning, it seems unlikely that any accidents would be beneficial. But, believe it or not, room 177 breeds these situations.
Sources fall through, leaving a journalist forced to act quickly and find someone else. The printer runs out of ink one hour before the end of paste-up, resulting in a hodgepodge of editors scrambling to find an alternative way to edit their page. A car break-in occurs, altering a reporter’s already-busy agenda for the sake of covering the event. What always amazes me is that despite each hiccup, we still produce a 24-page paper, filled with purposeful stories that strive to encompass our school—its daily happenings, out-of-the-ordinary events, and everything in between..
Although Bark has taught me many lessons, flexibility has been one of the most influential. Whether it be through publishing a sensitive opinion piece on lower-income Advanced Placement Exam opportunities or by writing in real time about the bomb threat from my phone, I’ve been able to confidently take risks. Sometimes they worked out and sometimes they didn’t (I tried to write a feature on a Nicasio cheese farm, but my only sources were cows). Hopefully, my multitudes of trials and subsequent errors have not been overlooked, but instead have become lessons to my peers that have looked up to me. I want others to be inspired to step out of their own shell to find meaning in unexpected places, to find their purposeful accidents.
The common saying is, “We learn from our mistakes,” and while most actions in Bark are intentional, it’s in those pivotal accidents when I learned most as a journalist. Things happen and we can’t always control them. Roll with the punches, go with the flow.