By Liam McGurl
I’ve had a few consistencies over the past three years: An uncanny preference for The Hickey’s pizza station. A love-hate relationship with The Richter. A love for words.
The latter was birthed from this very publication; a publication I found because Emmy Kolbe, my best friend since first Rob, said “Hey, you should consider writing for The BV!”
The Bona Venture quite literally gave me a voice. Sometimes, that voice manifested itself in a teaser — an upcoming ENACTUS event, a production on campus — and, other times, a fleshed-out review of a familiar record.
Really, The BV gave me the option to mesh my voice with any assignment — bringing a little “me” to each story — all because I was lucky enough to work under an array of EICs, different in their approaches, but fabulous nonetheless in their encouragement.
Amelia Kibbe, one of the most passionate staffers the BV’s ever seen. Hannah Gordon, who showed me that, yes, you can love AP Style and be a complete badass. Diana McElfresh, a dear friend of mine — one who has consistently, on and off the EIC job, made me feel infinite, talented and worthy of publication. Ya’ll are dynamite.
It’s funny, I was dead set on journalism from my first professional writing class with Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., the first semester of my freshman year. I fell in love with words and using them as tools for storytelling. The New York Times was my prospect; I was ready to share the stories untold.
A dash, drama. A semicolon, there’s more to come, but something familiar. A period, I’ve made my point (or at least tried). The BV showed me how to use what’s available to share a message and, honestly, I’ve realized that telling a story can happen in news writing, too; thank God for angles.
Since that first, introductory course, though, I’ve decided journalism’s just not for me. Now, it’s advertising — thanks to the unprecedented love MJK has for the trade, and the caliber of excitement he transfers to his students.
But the interesting thing is, I never considered breaking from the BV in that realization — that shift of paths. Because the BV’s always been there — its friendly faces (well, the free pizza’s a plus, too).
See, the BV isn’t just some bullet point on a paper resume; it’s a community of word crazed, AP Style junkies. I love that.
In that newsroom, I’ve cried, written my heart out (even if I wanted to can a story from its assignment), had unprecedented conversations and formed an unbreakable bond with admittedly estranged people
We’ve all spent so much time together in that damn room, loving one another wasn’t much of an option. The time spent writing, critiquing, editing and laying out pages called for feedback and communication — and, while those conversations started as peer insights, they were the stepping stones to meeting some of the most fascinating people I’ve come to know.
Emmy, who’s always been there in and out of that green-walled dungeon. Christina, Tom and Brandon, fellow “first robbers,” and my best friends. Andrea and Lauren (who’s sadly graduated), preceding Features editors who made print journalism, somehow, fabulous.
Because of that dynamic, The BV isn’t about garnering some extra journalistic experience; it’s about finding a voice on paper, or carrying one onto that medium. It’s about taking the leap to be heard or to help others be heard, putting oneself at risk via the coveted byline. We’re held accountable for our own shared stories — and, sometimes, the reputations of others.
And in those moments when I just didn’t get a name right, or missed the mark on my angle, I held myself accountable for improvement.
See, that’s the beauty of this body, it’s about encouragement — family.