I Almost Gave Up on Journalism Until I Took This Class

Features editor Mohammed Fuad gives us an honest perspective of how much magazine article writing reignited his passion for journalism - Photo via pixabay.com

When I came to Rowan, I had aspirations of being either a sportswriter or a sports broadcaster. Thanks to an override from Mark Berkey-Gerard during transfer orientation in 2018, I was able to enroll in the Sports Journalism I class taught by Phil Anastasia. I was excited to finally start something that I was looking forward to.

What happened next was a dreaded fall 2018 semester that I kind of want to forget, mainly because I was humbled by a workload that I wasn’t accustomed to, but that’s the difference in pace between community college and university. Whenever an assignment was due and I turned it in, I thought I didn’t have to deal with another assignment for another month. Boy was I wrong.

I enjoyed Sports Journalism I and I really loved Anastasia’s teaching approach. I loved covering a game and getting a taste of writing a game story. I enjoyed writing columns as I’m very opinionated with sports and wrote what was on my mind instead of having debates with friends. I enjoyed Anastasia’s stories of his days as a beat writer for Philadelphia sports as well as covering Michael Jordan’s 1982 game-winning shot to win the national championship for the University of North Carolina. 

Although it was very complicated, I enjoyed Publication Layout and Design taught by Christina Lynn. For years, I wondered how someone could create business cards and flyers, and taking the course made me learn those skills. It was also beneficial to me given my current position as a section editor at The Whit. Although I had to relearn Adobe InDesign, I’m enjoying creating the pages how I want and seeing the finished product. 

If I had to be honest, I didn’t enjoy Journalism Principles and Practices and News Reporting I. I had nothing against the professors at all; they were both very informative, and really taught me things that I didn’t know and that I still try to apply when writing. It was also good getting to have experience covering and writing different section articles in News Reporting I. What I didn’t enjoy was covering board meetings, events, etc.

I didn’t have fun as it was something that I wasn’t looking forward to covering. I started to second guess if journalism was the path I wanted to take. I discovered my passion for writing at Rowan and I wanted to use my creative writing skills, which isn’t possible when you’re covering a board of education meeting. I thought that maybe the writing arts major was the best path for me to go on.

The spring 2019 semester rolled around and I wanted to get a fresh start and to try to forget the previous semester. I actually liked the classes that I took that semester, mainly my Intro to Sports Communication class taught by Katherine Harman. 

There was one class, however, that I enjoyed the most and it was Magazine Article Writing taught by Nick DiUlio. I had a 15-minute gap between my Intro to Sports Communication and Magazine Article Writing classes and the worst part that it was only 15-minutes. I should’ve looked up the distance between Wilson Hall and 301 High Street.

I always thought that it was a bad look to show up late on the first day of class and realizing I was running out of time, I sprinted so I wouldn’t be late. I was out of breath and sweating from my neck to the point that I had to wrap my hood around the back of my neck so the sweat wasn’t dripping down my shoulders.

Professor DiUlio definitely won me over — not because of the good things I’d heard about him, but because of how enthusiastic he was and how he wanted us to dive into our creativity. Seeing how magazine article writing had a more conversational approach to writing, I enjoyed getting to learn the basics of it and the assignments that followed. The one assignment that I enjoyed the most was the profile story, where I covered a local musician in my hometown. It was met with positive reviews as I captured the raw emotions he displayed in the anecdotes that he told me. 

I didn’t feel comfortable opening up in the past about ideas, mainly because I didn’t want to be judged and told how stupid it was. This class allowed me to express my creativity and paint a picture through words. It also allowed me to join The Whit and the rest is history. Being able to paint a picture through words was something that I used when I covered the Rowan men’s soccer team for the 2019 fall season, writing the stories through a features approach. 

I look back at that Magazine Article Writing class and how that was the turning point in my journalism career. I was so close to dropping the major but instead, I stayed and I realized that journalism was for me, that this was the path that I was meant to take. I owe a lot to Professor DiUlio and while I wish I could say this to him in person, he had a tremendous impact on me not only as a writer but also as an editor because of his strong faith in me and how he always believed that I can find a way to make what I thought was nothing into something.

For comments/questions about this story, email features@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.