Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Colleen Romano
Shelbie Murphy has a relentless addiction — Justin Bieber, whom she would not abandon, “even if he was a drug addict.”
The average day for Murphy at Urbana’s online publication, The Echo, includes editing and writing. Acting as junior editor, head of student relations committee and copy editing, Murphy finds that she has little time for activities in her school that don’t involve journalism. Her passion of writing combined with her other love, pop culture, leads her to believe that journalism is the career for her. However, Murphy does not want to spend the next 30 years writing at a small newspaper. Reporting on celebrities for E News, writing an article for the newest edition of People magazine and interviewing the red carpet stars are just a few of the jobs she intends upon having in her future career in entertainment news.
Seemingly willing to tackle any man, woman, or child to the ground for an utterance against Justin Bieber is one of Murphy’s proudest traits. Lover of both the music and the boy, Murphy has written many an article on Bieber, so much so that her fellow editors have been forced to put a ban on the influence of her obsession in their newspaper. When asked about her favorite song of Bieber’s, Murphy becomes flustered, uttering over and over, “I can’t, I just can’t. You can’t ask me that!” After about five minutes of staring at the ceiling, Murphy finally breaks, admitting it would be impossible to pick one song out of the mass of amazing songs.
“I’ve watched him grow as a person and a musician for years. I just know who he is behind the fame and the money, and I just know that the hate that he gets every day is something he doesn’t deserve because he is a genuinely very good person. He has a good heart. He faces a lot of pressure and unseen struggles that nobody else understands,” said Murphy.
Murphy is the kind of fan who has read the book “The Fault in Our Stars”12 times, seen the new movie two times and counting and has even gone so far as to buy another copy of the book when she left hers at home. A dedicated reader of author John Green, Murphy plans to read his other works, “Paper Towns” and “Looking for Alaska.”
Overall, Murphy is the girl who will be the editor-in-chief of the newest entertainment magazine, the girl screaming across any quiet library, any crowd-filled mall and any studious classroom at that Justin Bieber hater. However, she is also the girl sitting quietly in her room reading “The Fault in Our Stars” and sobbing to herself as her favorite characters grace the screen.