For the longest time, I didn’t perceive myself as a journalist. As Daily Bruin’s Social Media director. My work is often at the intersection of digital multimedia and traditional content – we work with the story every day, but we don’t actually report on it.
But that’s not the only reason why. To tell you the truth, much of my time at The Bruin was plagued by a bad case of imposter syndrome.
I believed that I couldn’t call myself a director if I made mistakes. I didn’t want to put @dailybruin in my bio if I showed how inexperienced I was in the newsroom. For the first half of my tenure, I was so focused on making sure I didn’t mess up instead of taking risks and pushing my section forward.
But then, I’m reminded of why I applied in the first place – the thrill of sending out a breaking story, the satisfaction of writing and producing an Instagram story from start to finish and talking digital and social media with people who love it as much as I do. I’m reminded of what drew me to this position and why I kept coming back to Kerckhoff 118.
There were the little things too: hours in a car singing along to Lorde’s “Melodrama,” book trades with friends, inside jokes and deep conversations exchanged through Slack messages.
I’ve made a home at the Daily Bruin. Collaboration is what drives the newsroom, and I’ve never felt more energized in what I do than when I’m working with some of my favorite people. From covering huge stories to brainstorming fun content and posts with my friends, it’s these moments that made me feel like I belonged.
A quarter, some existential crises and many appreciative Slack messages later, I’m – finally – proud of myself. I won a California College Media Association award for Best Social Media Reporting during the Getty fire. I’ve produced content I’m proud of. I helped create social media accounts and taught the newsroom about how to use Twitter to engage with their work and add depth to their reporting.
I’ve written some pretty funny meows, too.
It’s hard to stop replaying a movie of one’s mistakes in the back of one’s head after a professional stumble. But working in social media, and at The Bruin, has taught me that there is no straightforward method that leads to a perfect end result. Errors are normal, corrections happen and we’re all human. I wish I learned that sooner, but I’ll be sure to carry that knowledge with me as I enter the corporate world.
I no longer ask myself if I’ve earned the title or replay those mistakes in the back of my head. Being a journalist entails sharing the stories that matter to your community – and sometimes that’s through a tweet or an Instagram story.
To my team, thank you for trusting me to be your Social Media director this year. I’m incredibly honored to work with such dedicated and talented individuals – I’m constantly inspired by your writing and your pitches, and I had a lot of fun working with you all and watching you grow. Lena and Shirley, I’m so excited to see how you’ll push the section forward next year and make it even more #digital-first.
To my #getaway-car, Lena, Lucy and Andrea: Maybe it’s the feeling of driving 20 miles with almost no gas or the exhilaration of screaming into the mountains, but driving to Mammoth with all of you changed everything for the better. Through the ups and downs of this year, I’m glad I stuck with you.
To Copy, my patron saints of patience as I learned through my corrections and edits: You’ve saved me countless times, and I imagine that you’ll save me once again when you’re editing this column. You are, without a doubt, one of the most valuable sections at The Bruin.
To Sam Joseph, my long-suffering collaborator and honorary assistant Social Media director long before there was such a position: My gratefulness to you deserves more words than this column would allow. You can chart our relationship by the number of Instagram stories we’ve created and tight deadlines we managed to survive to the other side of. I’m glad we have a visual reminder of not just the late nights, but of how far we’ve come from the first time we worked together. I can’t wait to see what you come up with as PRIME’s art director.
And to Kristie-Valerie Hoang, my Social Media mom and #digital-first nerd: Dude, you already know. Your support knows no bounds, and I’m grateful for your guidance through the highs and lows of our last year. You continue to inspire me with your passion and dedication to audience engagement. Text me when you get a Pulitzer.
Thanks, Daily Bruin, for choosing me to be your 2019-2020 Social Media director. I’ll see you online.
David was a Social Media contributor 2018-2019 and Social Media director 2019-2020.