I still remember my first FlipSide piece. It was a review of the movie "Scream." I had given it the headline "'Scream' has audiences screaming for more," but when it appeared in print, it read "'Scream' has audiences yelling for more."
At the time, I didn't understand the change. It was a clever incorporation of the movie title (or so I thought, anyway). Didn't my editor, Marina Hendricks, get that?
Now I understand the reasoning behind her decision: you don't use the same word in a headline twice. That's just one of the myriad things I've learned over my years as a journalist. It's one of the rules I incorporate on a regular basis as the current FlipSide editor, passing on the knowledge Marina gave me to a new generation of writers.
Running a teen journalism program is never where I saw myself. By the time I headed off to college, I had decided I was going to be a screenwriter; I'd even gone to a workshop at UCLA the summer after high school graduation instead of going on senior week.
But then I actually had to write a full-length script for a class. It was probably better than some of what makes it onto the big screen these days, but it was by no means good.
After that, I decided maybe it was better to write about movies then actually write them, so I decided I was going to be an entertainment journalist. I spent the summer before my senior year in college interning in Los Angeles at the entertainment website Hollywood.com.
All through college, though, starting the summer after my freshman year, I'd been working at the Gazette, thanks to Marina, my mentor. When I graduated in the face of a tough job market, I worked part-time at the Gazette as I looked for my first job. It came from an unexpected place.