Watching our military at work at WNCC career fair
April 16, 2002
There’s no competing with the Army and Navy if you’re a small-town newspaper. At least not at the job fair.
As I sat in the back of the room Thursday morning at Western Nevada Community College’s annual fete, away from the crush of people surrounding the Army and Navy booths, I tried to ignore those twinges of jealousy over the swag being passed out by the bagful — my tax dollars at work.
Our Jolly Ranchers and free papers didn’t compare to the T-shirts, water bottles, key chains and $20,000 signing bonuses being handed out by the uniformed men.
Nobody stopped by our table to sing impromptu, beautiful a capella versions of the “Star Spangled Banner,” but a sophomore from Yerington piped out a stirring rendition for the Army.
We just don’t rate. But I had goose bumps and tears in my eye nonetheless.
Another advantage of the Navy and Army is you can earn up to $50,000 to go to college after time in the military. For our part, we’ll require you to go to college and repay your student loans on your own.
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As a journalist, there’s no guarantee you won’t be shot at as many times as if you’re a soldier. You’ll definitely be yelled at less as a journalist, though only slightly. It’s doubtful you’ll be required to wear green or dress in all white, but it may still be necessary for you to crawl through the mud on your belly.
You also won’t be up before dawn for P.T. training — if you’ve seen the majority of journalists, you’d know that for a fact.
Don’t get me wrong, serving your country in the armed forces is an honorable profession, but so, to me, is journalism.
We aim to be the voice of those who have none.
What’s surprising is how so many people take our voice for granted.
Thursday at the Career Fair I overheard some comments that took me by surprise.
One girl glanced at the front page and said “nothing exciting.” A shock to me as our lead headline Thursday read “Murder suspect caught.” What’s not exciting about that? A Carson City man had allegedly stabbed a man to death, shot his wife twice, and been on the run from the law for two months. Nothing exciting.
Her friend looked and asked, “What’s the weather today?” This wouldn’t be quite so ironic if we didn’t live in Nevada where the weather can change 16 times in a day.
Another young lady sauntered up, pointed to the picture of the murder suspect and said, “I kicked it with him a few days before this happened.”
I had to ask about that twice. First because I’m a bit behind the times and it took me a minute to figure out “kicked it.” Secondly because it’s just shocking to think he once just hung out with friends. It’s sad, but I suspect his days of hanging out just multiplied when he was caught in Indiana.
One woman stopped by to ask the phone number to our circulation department so she could call about her delivery person. Assuming she hadn’t got her paper I offered her one. But she wanted to call and commend her delivery person who does “an excellent job.”
For the most part, students were shy, asking few questions and basically trick or treating from booth to booth. Some said they had their eye on engineering and many asked what skills it takes to be a news reporter.
And so I spent the morning “kicking it” at the job fair leaving with no water bottles, key chains or T-shirts, a bit of an education in slang and suffering from the pangs of jealousy.
Kelli Du Fresne is features editor of the Nevada Appeal.
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