Column: Reporting live with the Columbia Chronicle, I’m Paige Barnes

By Paige Barnes, Audience Engagement Editor

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You’re probably reading this thinking, “Didn’t she graduate already? Why is she writing this now?” To answer you, quite frankly, it hadn’t sunk in that episode 20 of the Media Hub Minute was my last one or that this was my last news article. I thought that the longer I put this article off, the longer I could hang on to the job that ignited my passion for journalism.

The week after the Spring semester ended and I graduated, it felt like I was simply taking a pause, but that pause is growing longer and longer as I transition into my role at the Dow Jones News Fund.

On Sunday, I was waiting to write up the script for the MHM; on Monday, I checked my email expecting a Zoom link for the weekly staff meeting and on Thursday, I was prepared to interview my coworkers for “Chronicle Headlines.”

To me, this seemed ironic. I kept reminding myself throughout the semester to smell the roses because this was it, but as I was getting closer to the end of the garden, it felt like every rose’s thorn was trying to get in my way—another assignment to finish, another email to send and so on.

So now I am at the end of the garden, and I do not want to leave. I enjoyed General Manger for Student Media Travis Truitt’s motivational speeches—and I even laughed at some of his puns. I enjoyed reading Faculty Adviser Curtis Lawrence’s wholesome comments asking us to explain pop culture references we made. And I enjoyed “nerding” out about journalism with my colleagues as they grew in their craft.

When I started at Columbia, I remember reading the Chronicle’s print editions religiously. Every Monday, I’d pick up a tangible newspaper from one of the stands on-campus and read each story hoping one day I’d see my byline. I know I especially fangirled over former Co-Editor-in-Chief Kendall Polidori when I met her during my second year at Columbia.

I was working at Convocation and she was reporting on a story about composting. I don’t remember the specifics, but seeing a Chronicle reporter in-person doing their thing was the coolest. In the Spring of 2019, I was hired as a staff reporter.

I laugh a little at the very first story I wrote because I genuinely didn’t know what I was doing. Sure, I was able to get in the interviews, but that night, I Googled, “How to write a news article.” Thankfully though, my Google searches became less frequent as I began to feel more acclimated.

I became more confident in my work and grew a “hunger” to write more stories—as Truitt loves to say. But this confidence was not developed on my own. Thank you to everyone whose journey I was a part of and who was a part of mine.

This is one of the articles I’ve spent the longest time thinking about. Not even a Google search could help me find the right words to express my love and gratitude toward the job that didn’t feel like a job that has helped me open so many doors.

As I turn the page to a new chapter of my life, this is your reminder to be intentional with everything you do in life, remember that hunger for your passion and chase your dreams. I did and it has turned out fabulous.