Harrison Watt: Sports Writer, 2011-2012

My background with the Highlander started unconventionally and unsuccessfully.

I’m sure that’s not the lead you expected from someone that now is a two-time first place award winner and an Editor-in-Chief at a college newspaper.

In the middle of my junior year, I joined the Highlander staff. I was lazy, and completely unsure if AP style existed to be frank. I handed in stories late, waited too long to interview sources and was somewhat of a ghost to the office in the back of Ben Harwood’s classroom.

As I registered for classes for my senior year, my counselor, Rebecca Rossen, made a decision that completely changed the course of my entire life. If you’re reading this Rebecca, you are truly a saint.

She noticed that our then advisor, Ben Harwood, had given me an A in that course. With my GPA struggling, Rossen put my on the Highlander staff for the entirety of the year.

I was terrified.

I was stuck on the staff. I attempted to make the best of it, and what happened was purely miraculous. I found my calling as a reporter on that staff.

We went to the MIPA awards ceremony, and to my shock, I had received an award for a story I wrote about unhealthy practices in wrestling (much to the chagrin of the wrestling team).

My work at the Highlander granted me the opportunity to join my college paper as a sports reporter, and two years later, I’ve taken over as Editor-in-Chief.

Because of my time at the Highlander, I’ve chosen to study journalism. Had it not been for the truly talent-loaded staff, one of the smartest men I have ever known in our advisor, and a brilliant choice of class by my academic counselor, I wouldn’t be here.

The Highlander’s standard of journalism is the standard I hold my reporters to today. The value of good journalism increases by the day as it seems to become more rare by the minute.

The service provided to the Seaholm community and I in my time as a reporter will be a service I am forever grateful for.

When I was asked to write this piece by another alum, I decided to brush up an old habit I gained.

There was a production night the week that the Seaholm the football team was preparing to play Farmington Hills Harrison. That day, two soccer players had tried out to kick for the Maples.

I had an hour to write a story that would print the next day. I pounded out 500 words in 45 minutes.

In the end, I became known to the staff as “The Early Bird,” often finishing stories two to three weeks ahead of the due date, and in increasingly rapid fashion.

This took me a solid 28 minutes to compose. Good reporting comes from honesty. Honesty should be instinctive and quick. Honesty reminds me that the Highlander played a major role in the man I am today.

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