- Social media makes or breaks small businesses
- How dreams fuel small businesses’ futures
- Gamers ‘press start’ in the video game industry
The Voices of Utah (Comm 3660) course that I took in the spring of 2015 at the University of Utah taught me a lot about what it means to be a journalist. This course really forced me to sink or swim in the wide, scary world of reporting. It didn’t talk about theory or tactics. Instead, I learned by covering my beat.
It made me act like a reporter.
For the first time, I interviewed total strangers and had to boldly ask them for information they don’t generally share with random people off the streets. This was the most educational and fun part for me. It built up my confidence and made me realize that other people are just as nervous to talk to a fledgling reporter as I am to talk to them. This made me relax and caused me to be braver to follow my curiosity to the end of the story.
I liked the small-business beat because it gave me so much freedom to do what I wanted with a story. I didn’t feel constrained or bored with a topic I couldn’t escape from. Rather, I could learn about the many aspects of a small-business owner and their organization. Whether it was economic, personal, or just a slice of life story, I was happy to explore the world of small businesses.
I have definitely learned a lot about myself as a writer and journalist. I feel confident in my people skills and now after this class, even when I feel nervous or uncomfortable, I am able to push through and ask the hard questions. But, I know my writing style still has a long way to go.
I think that any writer who thinks their writing style is as good as it will ever be is just building a cage around themselves. Even when I’m a wrinkled old coot sitting in my rocking chair, or if I really make it, a cushy armchair, I know I will want to keep growing as a writer. This class was the first step in a long journey, one I am definitely ready for.
I have heard it said that you can tell a lot about a person from the hobbies they fill their time with. For myself, that hobby would be playing video games. If by hobby, you mean a rabid love bordering on obsession, this would certainly describe me and the person I have grown into after years of indulging in this pastime.
Ever since my 4-year-old self tottered in to find my father playing Donkey Kong Country 2 on the Super Nintendo, I have been enthralled by video games.
No doubt my father smiled as my tiny mouth was slack in awe and wonder as he controlled two courageous chimps, risking life and limb to rescue their loveable pal Donkey Kong. However, I would hazard a guess that the novelty lost its luster, as my high-pitched wails echoed through the house each time he lost a life. Rather than risking a coronary every time a virtual misstep caused another bout of my inhuman howling, he wisely decided to offer me the controller.
I think that this moment really did change my life forever, as cliché as it sounds. Not only did it expose me to the thrills of the many worlds created by video games, it also let me, an incurably shy kid who could never work up the guts to talk to other kids, find a hobby that made me many friends throughout my life. Video games cemented me into a fairly exclusive community of fellow “nerds” that, according to most other people, stared at the idiot box all day frying our brain cells.
But, hey, it was the ’90s.
Nowadays, people are coming to realize how wonderful, artistic and creative the medium of video games can be. Or at the very least, the shrewder folks are realizing how much money is funneled into the video game industry each year. I’m incredibly glad to see the hobby I love so much receive more and more attention from someone other than my fellow childhood nerds.
This love of gaming has not diminished as I gently decompose into a college graduate. Although I feel ancient in comparison to the younger generation of gamers who have begun springing up, I also feel great anticipation for what wonders the video game industry will achieve next.
This anticipation and enduring love for games has pushed me toward my dream career. I hope to one day write for a game review magazine, like Game Informer, which I religiously pore over every month. I hope that my writing prose will continue to improve so I can be on the front lines of the video game frontier. I want to play my heart out, experiencing everything the industry has to offer and giving some expert advice to those unsure about what games to buy or bypass.
In my childhood, people would no doubt sneer at my devotion to what is, at the end of the day, just a game. But I know that as technology improves and the interest in games increases, game developers will create stories and experiences that will monumentally affect all those who play them. This wonderful feeling that comes from immersing myself in a fascinating story or world is the greatest power video games have.
Although some may scoff at video games as nothing more than a waste of time, they have improved my life and imagination, as well as helped along the creation of the smart, handsome and incredibly humble goofball that is Alex Harrington.