Richard Bailey: Looking Back at The Lamp


Richard Bailey, Former Lamp Editor

The Lamp was an unexpected part of my tenure at Lincoln Land Community College. After enrolling in a Journalism course taught by Tim McKenzie, I learned of open positions with the student paper. Journalism itself was new to me, but I’ve always enjoyed writing and it gave me a reason to work on my skills as a writer.

Being a writer for The Lamp gave me more than just a place to improve my current skills, but I also felt good about reporting important things. I wrote a story about Dumb Records and Arcade that was well-received by the business and those who love retro music and games. The research that I had to do in the name of Journalism was almost too fun to handle. More serious articles, like one about an outbreak of COVID-19 at a college party, were a little more somber.

One of my favorite articles was one that was written about comedian Dean Delray because the article talks about how, at age 44, he decided to get into stand-up comedy. Before working with The Lamp, I didn’t have a lot of options to be able to get the article published. The story was published and shared by the comedian on Twitter and Instagram. It felt great to see that so many others felt the same way that I did. Because of the article that was published with The Lamp, I was able to meet Dean Delray and even had the chance to perform stand-up comedy with him twice. The Lamp also won several awards during my tenure with the paper, despite it being a smaller staff than other Illinois community colleges.

I initially went to LLCC to finish a two-year degree, but after some persuading, I was decided to continue my education at the University of Illinois-Springfield where I am studying Communications and Journalism. None of what I am doing today would have been possible had it not been for my success coach, Melissa Franzen, and the guidance of Professor Tim McKenzie. I’m grateful for everything that I learned in the ‘Journalism’ class and the things that I was able to apply during my time at The Lamp. Diving into Journalism has given be the opportunity – and reason – to share newly lived experiences.

Another one of my favorite articles is one about how I just didn’t understand the hype around the American tradition pumpkin patches but by the end of my research, I was having fun. To me, that is one of the most important things in Journalism – to be able to live in the moment and re-tell the experience in a way that is engaging. I think the future of Journalism is going to require a certain amount of finesse because the audience has almost an infinite stream of information that can be carefully curated to influence the reader or listener based on their personal tastes. Digital media is evolving fast and too often people find themselves sharing articles that is satire or just plain false. Journalists today have to find a way to write engaging material without peddling clickbait – and I’m up for that challenge.