One of the most important things I learned this weekend is that you can go to college fully expecting to do one thing with your career and end up doing the complete opposite. I call this lesson the ‘Never Rule Anything Out’ lesson.
I learned this after spending all day Saturday and Sunday in the long form turned magazine section. Since I had so much time to get to know the judges and facilitators, we got past the typical questions, like “What do you do?” This turned into me learning about how they got into the field of design in the first place. The shocking thing I learned was that upon entering college, no one thought they wanted to be a newspaper designer and some didn’t even think they wanted to work in the newspaper industry at all. The majority of people wanted to be writers and reporters and one person, Michael Stanaland, actually graduated with a dual degree in biology and chemistry. So, this tells me that just because I am majoring in PR, it does not mean I can’t look into design jobs.
Another thing I learned is that newspapers are anything but on the decline, and much less dead. Whenever I looked around I saw people, judges and facilitators, engrossed in the newspaper in front of them. People were constantly having lively discussions about a design they were excited about. During medal discussions, judges became so passionate about a piece, it seemed they were willing to spend an endless amount of time arguing on its behalf. It was also a common sight to see people eyeing a paper and racing for it as soon as the facilitator said it was out. But the most important thing to prove that the future of newspapers is alive and well was how often I heard the word “innovative” and the phrase “this will be setting new trends.” People do not become this involved in an industry that is dying. Rather, I would argue that the industry is evolving. It is evolving in how it presents its news to people who don’t want to take the time to read a long article. It is evolving in terms of the technology being used to create the paper. And it is evolving to push the envelope in how we look at and consume the news in our world.
One more little thing I learned while at SND is that designers like to have fun. Not only by drinking, which was brought up a lot, but just by joking around with one another. They are a group of people that enjoy what they do and because of that they can maintain a positive outlook on the rest of their lives. (They also come up with great games to pass the time like Chip-Winks, the SND version of Tiddlywinks, and mini golf with chips.)