Thursday, February 24, 2011

Change in Plans

Remember the amazing internship I got with Newsweek magazine?

My family and I were excited to have such a special opportunity to live in New York this summer, and for me to work with a national magazine. Things could not get much better for starting out my career, and we were looking forward to a great adventure as a little family in the Big Apple.

Well, a couple weeks ago that internship came into doubt. With the merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast, we at the BYU end of things weren't sure what would happen. After trying multiple times to contact people with Newsweek and The Daily Beast, it was confirmed yesterday that there is no longer a place for me at Newsweek. The Daily Beast already has its own interns coming, and won't be needing any more. The special access BYU has with Newsweek seems to no longer exist.

Cue the quandary.

We're still going to New York. We've already begun the paperwork and the payments, and besides, why would anyone pass up on New York?

And Professor Campbell was able to find some extra internship opportunities in New York, so I am guaranteed a place at either The Brooklyn Paper or The Riverdale Press. Both are very localized weekly newspapers, specifically for Brooklyn and the Bronx. So, even though I've never heard of them, it's still journalism work in New York City! And I might get to do sports, which I wouldn't do much of at Newsweek, I imagine. The Brooklyn Paper offers "the world's best Cyclones coverage," meaning the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Class A Minor League Baseball team. That might be fun to be involved with. (It would be like last summer when I went to a bunch of Orem Owlz games, only I'd get to write about them.)

But since yesterday afternoon I have been welling up with a lot of emotions, none of them very positive. I feel like I was duped once again. Just another on a long list of missed opportunities:

- Last year, I thought I was going to get to go to New York for a journalism student convention. But I got the invitation before the trip was actually approved by the department, and so I jumped the gun a little bit and got my hopes up for a weekend in New York.

- Around the same time, I was asked by Rich and the sports editors to represent The Daily Universe at the NCAA Tournament regional games in Salt Lake City. BYU didn't make it that far, but they were going to send me anyway just to cover the games and get that experience. Which would have been amazing. But alas, the NCAA pulled a reverse and decided college newspapers were not eligible for media credentials. Then, we were going to try and borrow media credentials from The Daily Herald in Provo, because they likely weren't going to use them unless BYU was in those games. But they decided to use them anyway (or at least not give them to The Daily Universe, who knows what they actually did with them).

- This past football season, The Daily Universe sold enough ad space for a special football section every Monday after a football game. With the extra ad money, we had the chance to send at least a couple of people to every away football game. My co-editor "Sparky" went to the Florida State game in Tallahassee, then the TCU game in Fort Worth, Texas was going to be my turn. But then, when it got closer to the TCU game, somehow plans were changed because the broadcast program had connections that could make things cheaper. As far as I can tell, because one of the broadcast kids had family in Texas and everyone could stay there for free, the department gave the trip to them instead of to The Daily Universe - you know, to the side of the department that actually earned that ad money in the first place.

Even now, I'm signed up to go to the MWC Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas, but I won't really believe I'm going until I'm sitting in the BYU rental van driving down I-15 toward Nevada. I've been trained by now to never get my hopes up.

But I thought this Newsweek internship would be immune to this trend of disappointment. I needed this internship to graduate from BYU with a degree in communications, so I didn't think it would be messed with. (An internship with The Brooklyn Paper, The Riverdale Press or somewhere else would still count for the graduation requirement.) This was a sure thing. After all, I got the internship. It wasn't that I merely hoped for something that didn't happen. I earned this, and it was taken away. Even this, the pinnacle of my BYU education and of my journalism career so far, turned into a letdown too.

To be fair, in many ways these circumstances were out of my control and out of the BYU Communications Department's control. And I haven't always been left out. I did get to travel to BYU football games in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, Colorado. And I've also been able to talk face-to-face with Bronco Mendenhall, Harvey Unga, Jake Heaps and other football players, Dave Rose, Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery, LaVell Edwards, David Nixon, Mark Lyons, Mike Scioscia and many other amazing people.

I'm just bummed right now.

But I need to have an attitude that this happened for a reason. I have to think that this will work out somehow. One day, I'll probably look back on all this and I won't be able to imagine doing anything but The Brooklyn Paper, Riverdale Press or wherever. Looking back, this will all make sense. This will be right. At least, that's what I have to think. That's what I have to tell myself.

What's ironic is that the day I got the bad news was also the day Erin and I were praying and fasting that I would keep my Newsweek internship. Professor Campbell literally gave me the news while my stomach was a-grumblin'. I got the opposite of what I was asking for.

But maybe that means that this is what is supposed to happen. I don't know exactly how the Lord works. But maybe the opposite of the answer I want is still an answer.

At any rate, I have to make the best of it. It's the only way to get through life.


  1. I'm really sorry about that JJ. That's a pretty crazy cycle of stories! I'm sure though that everything will work out, you are really good at what you do and you're a really proactive, hardworking person. Things will work out for the best for you and your family. Good luck in New York!

  2. You are absolutely right about when you look back on this later you won't be able to see it happening any other way. While it's true that sometimes the undeserving sometimes get more than the people who have worked the hardest, don't give up because all that hard work is bound to get you somewhere great even if it's not where you thought you would end up.

  3. JJ I'm so sorry about all this. I can't believe I didn't know about any of it! You always seem so reserved and calm (and wise for that matter), but I can tell this has really affected you. The career you've chosen is a tough one in today's world, but know you have people who love you and are rooting for you. I've always admired your work ethic. I know it will take you far, and you will excel wherever you end up. As the wise Josh Groban once said, "don't give up." :)

  4. I like that you're trying to have the attitude that everything happens for a reason. Especially in this case, if you and Erin were fasting and praying to keep the internship, and it still didn't happen, I truly believe whatever works out instead is the right answer. You and Erin live your lives in such a way that it allows you to have the right kinds of blessings in your life, and in praying and fasting, the Lord isn't going to let you down. He's got your back! He knows what's best. It's hard for you to see the big picture, but he sees it. So you just gotta keep trusting him and everything will work out. You'll see!!

    Still super proud of you! You're my hero!

  5. I just a gave talk in church about this exact topic. I've had a few 'let downs' since beginning college. I don't want to diminish any feelings you feel now, because they are valid, but having a few years of perspective from one particular event showed me exactly what you talked about. Everything happens for a reason is my new mantra. While The Brooklyn Paper isn't Newsweek, I am sure you can still make it a great experience and perhaps find your path from there. :)

  6. Wow, thanks everybody! All very wise advice that I will keep in mind. Thanks for your support. And thanks for reading my blog! :)

  7. There are reasons for things happening - we just don't see them until later, or never. But we have to have faith that it was the right thing to happen. I wonder if on the other side we get to look at our life and see what would have happened if certain things had gone differently. Maybe then you'll know. For now, be positive and open to those things that are available - you'll be great wherever you are!

  8. Somehow there is some lemonade in here ... maybe this will lead to an even better future. And we still get to come see you in NY!


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