I’m not a journalist. I really, really, really dislike having to write. Ironic because I’ve often thought that writing would be a good medium to fame and fortune for me someday. I write for the student newspaper. Ironically I wanted to just proofread and take pictures and ended up writing all because I wanted a cookie which required me to sign up for e-mails. I immensely enjoy the experience of going out and talking to people and learning about a topic, but formulating those ideas into words that are fluent is really not my thing. Despite the challenges I have learned quite a few things since becoming a staff writer sometime in September.
- News=good; Features=not so good
Facts are so much more my cup of tea. I can imagine how to write something in a more colorful feature style but to actually do so requires either intense observation which I don’t do well or fictionalizing reality which I absolutely despise.
You get the chance to speak your mind! What can be better than spouting off your opinion for all campus to see (not that anybody actually reads them).
- Who, What, When, Where, Why?
Focus on all aspects of a story so that there isn’t a gaping hole in the info in which you need to go back to fill it. Always have more information than you actually need and put it to use right after you get it. Use a notepad to take notes of specific quotes so you don’t have to try and recreate them later. Get the basics at the start and build up from there. If the topic is a bit more complex then investigate on the front end and write specific questions before an interview.
- The newscrew is smart. Really.
I’m always astonished at the pure volume of stuff that is known by one of the most diverse groups of people on campus. I’m left scratching my head for ideas for stories while the editor always seems to have enough ideas for multiple issues. Having people from broad backgrounds such as art, science, sports, education strongly contributes to the ability to knowledgeably write about a topic and have those connections with people to get the info.
- Get your story in on time.
I only wish I practiced what I preached.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to people.
I am a huge introvert. This leads me to dread walking into somebody’s office or e-mailing a stranger asking for an interview, but once I actually start talking with them it quickly becomes my favorite part of the process. So instead of dreading an encounter just go for it and confront the people you need to.