My experience writing for The Michigan Journal
May 17, 2022
The University of Michigan-Dearborn offers various student organizations that cater to your interests and help you to develop important professional skills. One student organization that I have been involved with for the past couple of years is The Michigan Journal — the university’s student-run newspaper since 1971. MJ consists of five sections: News, Student Life, Opinions, Arts & Entertainment, and Sports.
As an avid sports fan, my place within these five sections seemed like a no-brainer. When I first joined the sports section, I started off as a staff writer but have since taken on the role of section editor. Writing has been one of my greatest strengths, and I was able to use that to my advantage in adopting new skills to write more journalistically. It was an ongoing process, but after a few articles, I got the hang of it and started to really enjoy it.
My experience with MJ has been relatively unconventional, having joined the newspaper in May 2020 amidst the early stages of the pandemic. I was able to see firsthand the transition the journal and its staff had to make from in-person, print articles to strictly virtual publications. It was a difficult obstacle to hurdle early on, but for the sports section specifically, we never skipped a beat.
When I first started, our section consisted of four writers, and we consistently wrote throughout that summer and into the Fall 2020 semester. It was great having multiple writers because we were able to cover a lot of different sports topics: football, baseball, basketball, hockey, motorsports, fantasy sports, and other miscellaneous subjects. We were a very cohesive group as well, brainstorming together and helping each other out with edits if needed.
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, MJ was on a hiatus from mid-Fall 2020 until only a few months ago. Drew Dykowski, the former sports section editor before me, took over as the editor-in-chief in the Winter 2022 semester. Drew has been with MJ since 2018, so his lengthy experience and creative ideas helped bring the journal back. He laid out the blueprint for recruitment, weekly section editor meetings, and establishing a productive and collaborative work culture.
With Drew stepping into the EIC role, I volunteered to be the new sports section editor, and it was great being involved and being able to publish content again. We currently have six writers now in the sports section, and it has been fun editing their work and watching them get the recognition they deserve.
Despite classes being back in person, MJ had to continue publishing virtual articles. But the goal for Fall 2022 is to have a budget that allows for print versions as well. The website is full of great content across all our sections, and I encourage everyone to check it out.
If I could give some advice to prospective students that might be interested in joining The Michigan Journal, here’s what I would say:
- Students with any major can join. You do not have to be in communications or journalism and media production.
- If you have an interest in any of the section topics, or if you are looking to build up a portfolio of sample content for future employers, joining MJ would be a great opportunity. Writing is a very important skill to have.
- If you are interested in anything media-related outside of journalism, I encourage you to look into other media/video production student organizations such as Lyceum, Campus Video Network, or WUMD College Radio. They all provide unique opportunities to help grow your skills in various fields.
- Lastly, just have fun with it. This is not a job, but rather a fun experience getting to write with other students. Our staff is great to work with. You can join as a staff writer or a guest writer, and we work with your schedule to make sure you have time for academics as well.
The Michigan Journal has given me invaluable skills and experiences that I will take with me throughout my career. If you are interested in joining, please contact Drew (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com)!
Blog post written by Roman Bruno