My name is Tom Passmore. I'm a sports writer here at The Flashlight, the student newspaper at Mansfield University.
I'm from a rural town about 30 miles north of Mansfield called Corning, N.Y., which is best known for the Corning Museum of Glass.
Coming out of high school, I was pretty unsure about my future when I went to the local community college in Corning. After two years, I knew I wanted to stay relatively close to home. I had been to many baseball clinics in Mansfield in the past and I liked the atmosphere, so it seemed like the logical choice.
When I transferred from Corning Community College to Mansfield University I was pretty lost. I came in to Mansfield knowing what I wanted to do, be a journalist, just not knowing how to gain connections.
I came in with little experience in sports writing and pretty intimidated by the fact of actually writing for a newspaper. At orientation, I introduced myself to the current adviser of the newspaper, Dan Mason.
Mr. Mason, the grizzly-bearded man with the welcoming smile, guided me to the editor of The Flashlight. I exchanged emails with the editor-in-chief and was excited and nervous for our mandatory meeting.
Still adjusting to campus life, I attended The Flashlight meeting and made sure to get there super early. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted with open arms and even though they already had a sports editor, (the position I was hoping to obtain) the editor made a spot for me on the staff and made me a part of the family.
At the beginning of the semester, I was delighted to find out that most of the staff shared my own interests and we've had some heated debates about who's going to win the NBA championship.
Soon after I started working on The Flashlight, I fulfilled one of my goals that I told myself when I transferred: get involved with the newspaper. My first assigned story was a season preview for the mens sprint football team at Mansfield where I had to interview the head coach. Since this was my first interview of this magnitude, I stumbled through it with a sort of deer-in-headlights type of look on my face. Head coach Graham Johnson knew that and helped me along feeding me answers that he knew I'd need for my story.
About a week later, my story was published - a small goal accomplished in my struggle to become a sports writer in a "dying field" some say. Since then, I've been a solid two-to-three-articles-a-week contributor to The Flashlight
The staff here at The Flashlight are the nicest guys I've ever had the privilege of working for and Mason is a good adviser and teacher.
The thrill of working on a newspaper isn't just about the experience and a resume booster. This newspaper is pretty much a family. The Flashlight only has a five-person staff, but we are one of the most close-knit guys ever to work on a newspaper.
I think a staff with five guys pressures us to meet deadlines and prepares us for the outside world if we don't get a job in the print industry.
The Flashlight is an organization that is helping me make friends during college and helping me further my career in journalism, it may not have the glitz and glamour of WNTE or MUTV, but the sky is the limit for The Flashlight.
And with the same group, we'll continue to crank out newspapers week after week for the Mansfield readers.
Passmore is a student at Mansfield University.