Position: Newspaper Co-Editor
College: Wellesley College
Major: Political Science
Journalism has been a constant part of my high school life and I can say with certainty that I’ll be guided in the future by all I’ve learned about people and myself through my time on the Harbinger. I’d like to say that I was pushed towards it simply by my own drive and interest, but that’s not the case. Rory Gilmore gets some of the credit.
On “Gilmore Girls,” Rory started her journalistic career at her prep school and from the beginning she had the magic touch. Her advisor glowed with pride when she turned her first assignment about the parking lot being resurfaced into a touching tale about the passing of time.
All that meaning from something that small. All that freedom to make creative observations. I was hooked after that first scene in the newsroom.
On my first day of Journalism 1 that delusional concept of journalism was shattered. I discovered that through her far-from-objective musings about the parking lot, Rory was guilty of some serious editorializing; a huge journalistic no-no.
When Rory enters Yale University, she starts out writing features and she eventually becomes Editor-in-Chief.
Suddenly, she’s transformed into a superhero. She navigated every crisis with wit and the grace of a 50s movie star. No picture for the cover? No problem, she’ll go shoot at the football game herself. The writers are quitting right and left? She’ll make them come back with sheer force of will.
Through my time on The Harbinger, I discovered that Rory was just that, a fictional superhero. Being a journalist isn’t formulaic or nearly as glamorous as it seems in the “Gilmore Girls” newsroom. But it’s also more rewarding.
Looking back on Rory’s newsroom experiences, there’s a stark contrast between her writer-scripted time as a journalist and the reality I’ve found the past four years.
Somehow Rory is shy and a journalist. It seems like a sweet oxymoron on the show, but in reality that’s impossible. Journalism is about having both the confidence in your knowledge and research to ask questions of experts and the empathy to relate to people you interview. The simple routine of interviewing itself forced me to change from the shy and unsure freshman I was when I joined the staff.
Perhaps most important of all, was the illusion of editor-as-superhero. Rory may have managed to play every role on the Daily News and have a social life, but that’s crazy. She’d somehow write her own pieces, edit every section, and layout the paper for each issue. While I never was quite that neurotic, I’m controlling by nature and I’m inclined to want to do things myself to ensure they’re done right.
Letting go to some extent and letting people take leadership of their own work is what I’ve learned. I’m still a worrier, I’m still a planner and a list-maker, but I’ve learned that the process is important too. In fact, watching staffers learn and grow may be the part of my high school journalism experience that I will remember the most. Whether it’s a designer executing a concept or a writer snagging the perfect source, the confidence gained from those little milestones are what make the experience so valuable and transformative.
From my time on staff, I now think like a journalist. I now know that journalism is a public service. It’s about being everything to every reader—whether that means you’re an informer, an entertainer or a storyteller. It’s about teaching people about events and about other people. And through that, teaching them about themselves.
Because of my time on the newspaper, I’ll always be a listener, an inquirer and a planner. I’ll always question facts, see details and know that everyone has a story.
Although I don’t plan on pursuing journalism in college, I’ll always have a journalist’s mind. And for that, I can thank Rory.