Some people go into the newspaper game for less altruistic and more personal reasons. It can be a drug, and often the addicts are the most prized professionals of all.
Jenny Vrentas seems on the road to being one of them.
A biochemistry major who grew up in State College, she was supposed to follow in her professor father’s footsteps, but she went to the Collegian as a sports fan, for some fun.
“I got a lot of encouragement,” she said, covering the Ultimate Frisbee Club and intramural basketball, “and I was pretty much hooked from then on. Nothing against science, but it doesn’t have the intensity of sportswriting. There wasn’t a day when I didn’t want to do conference calls, didn’t want to do interviews.”
She earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in the spring and now works at the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey’s largest newspaper.
“Writing well on deadline, capturing a scene, seeing it a different way than other people might see it, is just amazing,” says Vrentas. “I can do it. I just want to get better about it.”
Kayur Patel, a freshman in the film who learned newspaper design at the award-winning Ridley High School newspaper, the Green Raider, in Delaware County, becomes quickly disenchanted with the bureaucratic brick walls that are a reporter’s daily diet.
After shooting ended, he returned to the design side and has resumes out to newspapers in the region for a job after he graduates from Penn State this month.
Echoing a sentiment heard nationwide in newsrooms, where workers thrive on the adrenaline of pressure, he said, “The thing I love about newspapers is you have . . . to do the work they give you every day, and every day is a new opportunity to do that.”
“My favorite part of school was working at the paper. My senior year, I realized that. Our lives were the Collegian. My best memories are from it.”