More than just journalism

poojabale_online

In the summer of 2017, I had just finished my junior year of high school. I was eager to start my summer internship at The Daily Californian alongside one of my good friends, but at the same time, I was absolutely terrified to be thrust into what I expected to be a microcosm of college life.

What I found was an amazingly witty and infinitely kind community with generous doses of savage humor. It was place where I could destress, drink all the boba I ever wanted and write about whatever the hell I wanted to. (Props to blog!) And not only did I write for blog, but I wrote for news, I wrote for special issues, and I even wrote a few columns for opinion. I never once got a weird stare from anyone in the office despite being a socially awkward high schooler running around between the BART station, campus, restaurants and my laptop at the news desk.

Joining the Daily Cal was really a matter of chance. I had applied for my high school’s newspaper and was thrown out on my ass. Later that year, my friend mentioned that the Daily Cal was taking summer applications, and I jumped at the chance to actually write for a college newspaper. It was a big deal to me. It gave me hope that I would still have an opportunity to write my heart out, and that’s just what I was able to do.

I went from having no writing background to having articles that were trending with community members and being liked by hundreds of people (even by some of my former teachers). I saw a few of my Clog articles on the popular section of the Daily Cal website. What?

Newspapers like the Daily Cal have allowed me, a normal middle-class Indian girl, to have a voice that is heard. Journalists put themselves out there, whether they’re reporting on an explosive issue or just writing about what they’re thinking about at the moment. Writing for the Daily Cal allowed me to put myself out there and to take part in upholding the integrity of journalism. Maybe not all I write is “gold star quality,” but it’s from the heart.

I continue and will continue writing for the Daily Cal as an incoming freshman and beyond because frankly, I have fun. Writing tests my creative ability, my ability to relate to an audience and my social skills. The Daily Cal informs readers about what is going on in Berkeley and the UC system, gives them something to kick back and laugh at, and sometimes inspires them to change their lives.

The Daily Cal, along with the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times, the Capital Gazette and other respected news sources, put out information that is essential for a functioning and progressive society. Whenever I had free time as a student, I’d whip out my phone, bring up Apple News and read about the latest presidential scandal or Supreme Court case or new scientific breakthrough. What I read connected me with the rest of the world and made me feel like I knew something worthwhile despite still being a senior in high school.

These newspapers have totally changed what I perceived journalism to be. I had only thought of it as boring news stories that may or may not be relevant to me. But then I began reading more opinion articles and saw different perspectives on pressing social and political issues. I felt more informed than ever. Even while reading the articles of my fellow Daily Cal writers, I was able to learn more about the individuals themselves and about various topics that define Berkeley as a university and a city.

One day, I will graduate to a new level of writing, but for now, I am beyond thrilled and grateful to be writing just how I am for the Daily Cal.

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected] .