Junious Smith III: My struggles with anxiety
I’m an oxymoron: A journalist who is uncomfortable around people.
As I head toward my 11-year anniversary covering stories, it's a safe estimate to say I've interviewed at least 10,000 different people. Whether I’m talking to professional athletes, members of a presidential cabinet or regular citizens, the focus is providing the best story possible to the masses.
It's still a struggle to converse though.
If you look at some of the videos posted on Neuse News, it can be apparent: there's plenty to improve on. Occasionally, I'll have a script ready, but have trouble following it when it's showtime. I stammer too much, don't have consistent conviction with my questionnaire and have moments where I'll freeze in front of the camera. Yet, I'm the one trying to convince the individuals I talk to who are camera shy or wary of the media that everything's alright.
Isn't that a contradiction?
This year, two of my goals were to build my brand and work on not being so timid. Although this was a passion I've had since I was a child, it was tough to actually do interviews. I wrote a couple of stories for my high school newspaper, but I only interviewed people I was friends with and any work I did on my craft was done from playing Madden or NBA Live at home, making up quotes while creating stories.
The work ethic was always there, but so was the anxiety of talking to others. There used to be a time where I could just let my stories do the talking, but it's not the same with a multimedia entity.
Don't get it twisted: It's been a blessing to receive love over the years. When Graham Hill and I did our LCC Game of the Week on Jan. 4 and the North Lenoir student section busted out a "We Love Neuse News" chant, it had me floored, and it was just a part of the numerous claims of respect throughout the years.
The problem internally is while I'm forever grateful, the worry comes when a mistake is displayed in my story, video, quote, etc. It's essentially a kicker's life: thankful when you're reliable and the worst any time a miss happens. Granted, it's the life I've chosen but it doesn't make it any easier.
Still, if we do an interview in the future, don't feel nervous. Chances are, I'll be on the same wavelength. I'll do my part to make whoever look great in order to put together a solid publication. I certainly don't have it all together, but will continue to do my part for the community despite the anxiety.
Also, another thing I’ve never been comfortable with is playing the part of a writer (i.e. dressing the part). That’ll come when it’s necessary.