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Alumni Posts

Elizabeth Brennan, Intrepid Reporter

by Alumni Posts on October 31, 2011

in Academics,Extracurricular

Well.  The Cardinals won the World Series last night.  It’s not like I was jumping up and down when it happened or anything, or that my neighborhood was going crazy with fireworks, people coming outside to yell and cheer, and car alarms going off late into the night.  You know us Saint Louisans…we’re calm, cool, and collected in the face of a Ranger-smashing World Series victory.

With that frivolous talk out of my system, onto the meat of this post:  the Fontbanner.

The Fontbanner is the University newspaper, and it’s run by a combo of students taking the class for credit and student volunteers.  I should rephrase that, actually.  Students who volunteer for the paper are few and far between.  Last year, my friend Carly (of FBYou blogging fame) and I were the only volunteers on the ten-person staff.  This year, after I dropped a class (Intro to Classroom Teaching – it was VERY enlightening, and I’d recommend it for anyone who thinks they want to be a teacher), I picked up Newspaper Workshop in its place as an 8-week class, and I’m officially an enrolled student now.

So far, it’s been a bit of a let-down.  When I was a volunteer, I covered some cool events and wrote some fun articles, like the one I wrote about the “Baby Boom” that occurred on the 3rd floor of the East Building.  Now that I’m actually getting CREDIT for my work, I’ve been covering boring stuff, like Sibs Weekend.  Sure, the weekend looked like a lot of fun IF YOU HAD A SIBLING TO GO WITH, but none of my 3 siblings (not counting my other sibling who goes to Fontbonne) wanted to go!  I had to drag myself up to school on a weekend (gasp!) and report on other people having fun with their siblings.

Oh well.  Such is life.

What I do like about the Fontbanner, and this is what kept me volunteering, is that it helps me improve my writing skills.  It turns out, journalistic writing is really difficult.  It’s not like the kind of writing you use for assignments, and the idea behind a newspaper article is to write as simply and powerfully as possible.  I find this really annoying, because it means you can’t use fancy words and that you have to intentionally dumb down your sentences and descriptions.

I consider working on the Fontbanner a writing work-out, because it makes me focus on control.  It’s easy for me to write complex, flowing sentences that sound nice when read aloud.  To shorten those down and make them easy for readers to absorb is a challenge, but doing so pushes me to creatively find ways to express what I need to get across succinctly.  Sometimes, it’s really frustrating and I want to quit the newspaper altogether.  But seeing the final product when it’s published on the Fontbanner website never ceases to give me that tingly feeling of pride inside, and that feeling’s worth all the angst that goes into the article.

So, if you’ve never read the Fontbanner, you should check us out here.  I think it’s a nice paper, but then, I’m a less than impartial critic, aren’t I?  What I like about the class is that anyone can sign up for it, and everyone’s articles get published.  Plus, it’s always a fun group of people to work with.  The staff is mostly English majors, so I get made fun of for being the Computer Science geek in the newsroom, but my background gave me an edge when the newspaper went online this past year.  (Muahahaha – revenge of the nerds!)

Anyway, that’s why I like writing for the Fontbanner.

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.