Time stops for no journalist: The situated knowledge of news

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

Graphic courtesy of 123rf.com

I don’t think I realized how much being an editor for the Daily Trojan would consume my life until I found myself sending messages about breaking news stories at 3 a.m. In high school and even during my first semester of college, journalism was, for me, kept in its own category of my life, one that (much like class or sleep) didn’t overlap with other things that I did. I had a set time that I “did journalism” — whether that meant conducting an interview, writing a story or making edits — and after I finished, I moved on to something else until the next assignment came around.

Being a news editor changed all that. I realized that news doesn’t stop just because I leave the newsroom or start doing my homework or — however rarely — go to sleep. News happens at all hours of the day, whether I am at work or in class or eating dinner, and I have to be prepared to respond to it because that’s what being an editor means. It’s knowing everything that’s happening, all the time, and figuring out how to convey this information to the student body through the Daily Trojan — which all sounds pretty impossible. And technically, it is — no single human being can possibly keep tabs on everything that goes on around a 226-acre campus, the surrounding neighborhood, the separate Health Sciences Campus several miles away and all of the students and faculty that are somehow affiliated with USC even if they’re not physically present at the University.

That’s why I work with a news team — the eyes and ears of the Daily Trojan across campus whom I can always count on to pick up a developing story or pitch an idea when they hear of something worth writing about. I’m just one news editor, but each person I’m connected to — from my co-editors to the other members of the editorial board to our Assistant City Editors to our staff writers — forms another layer of the web that helps me know what’s going on around USC.

Donna Haraway wrote in “Situated Knowledges” that truth comes not from one single omniscient perspective, but from a multitude of subjective experiences that come together in conversation. I’m learning more and more that these situated knowledges are at the heart of journalism, whether it’s a writer getting the story by interviewing multiple sources or an editor (such as myself) calling upon multiple writers to create one cohesive paper. And most strongly, I’ve felt the impact of these multiple perspectives in the work of my fellow editors, each of whom contribute to make the news section and the Daily Trojan as a whole not just possible, but great.

I’ve learned that journalism doesn’t just take place at one time, and it’s not “done” by just one person. So it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that it isn’t just one thing, but many things, most of which I’m still learning about and some that I haven’t even thought of yet. Every time I assign a new story or design another page, I see another dimension to journalism, and I’m excited to maintain that process of discovery. I’ve just started my journey at USC and at the Daily Trojan, but I know that when my phone buzzes at 3 a.m., I’ll always take the call.

Diana Kruzman is a freshman majoring in Middle East studies and print and digital journalism. She is also news editor of the Daily Trojan.