My first professionalish writing gig was in college. I had wanted to write for my high school paper, but I never got around to it. After almost two years in college, I decided to respond to an ad in FSU's college newspaper, The FSView & Florida Flambeau, even though I didn't really read the newspaper. (Full Disclosure: I didn't read it after I started writing for it, either. Only when I started editing the section, and then I only ever read the stories I had to edit.)
The recruitment ad, placed by Matthew Gilmour, called for Arts & Entertainment writers, and I was going to nearly every concert I could at that time, so I sent in a sample review for The Feature's Exhibit A (a fine album) and was on my way.
My two-year stint at the 'View was pretty wild. There were a lot of great album releases and concerts to cover; we won a national award for editorial content; and the paper made news for itself when it became the first college newspaper purchased by a major corporation (Gannett Company, Inc.). This was possible because the FSView was an independent paper.
< "Brief Historical Account" >
The original FSU paper, the Florida Flambeau, was a hardhitting, political, sometimes investigative-reporting type affair. Eventually, it upset The Order when it ran a negative piece about Greek Life (fraternities / sororities). As a result, the FSView was started up by Greek Sympathizers and soon got all the Greek advertising revenue. The 'View soon went deep into the red, and the Flambeau made a deal to acquire it.
Thereafter, the 'View and the Flambeau were "one," serving the FSU campus at large, but being financially independent from university money. Which, you think, would allow them some liberties in terms of, uhh, reporting / being critical of University Affairs, but no such liberties were achieved. When I was there, the two-page spread of Entertainment (read: bars / nightclubs) ads reigned supreme, sometimes knocking my section down to one page of editorial content and two pages of ads.
Read more history here, or on Wikipedia (an entry that I wrote and got approved by the Wiki Powers That Be).
< / "Brief Historical Account" >
Despite all the turmoil, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the paper and I learned a fair amount. One of the best lessons I learned is that reaching out to your co-workers (asking them how your job impacts their job and vice versa) is quite helpful if you care about doing your job right. (Note: a lot of people there, from lowly writers all the way up to the newspaper owner did not in fact care about doing their jobs right.)
Anyway, when I left the paper, I had over 100 articles posted online. About a year later, they decided to overhaul their website, and, unsurprisingly, this wiped out their online records. Luckily, I took care to get every printed issue from my time there before I left. But the downside now is that without a massive scanning project on my part, there is no way to share these articles with the general public.
That was never published.
Here is my response to a brutally dimwitted op-ed that my then editor-in-chief ran one week:
Op-Ed: FSU Football
That's all for now, folks.