over the hump of his first week of reporting


Today marks the end of my first week of reporting with the Columbia Missourian for my J4550 Newspaper Reporting course. For those that didn’t know, at MU our journalism school has a unique way of getting students professional experience with it’s “Missouri method.” Basically, journalism students get to work with the local newspaper for course credit. I’ve heard various accounts from alumns whether it’s as effective of a method as it’s made up to be. Personally I think it’s pretty cool.

Back to my story, though. Prior to starting my intersession reporting (over this winter break) I really haven’t had much reporting experience. As photo editor of The Montage I wrote a couple columns but they hardly had any original reporting and I wouldn’t really consider them publishable. Outside of the prerequisite for J4550 (J2100 News Writing) this was all the news writing experience I’ve had.

In addition to my originally being an art student in high school, and through my academics at community college, I would say my skills in being able to put my thoughts into cohesive and intelligent words is, how would you say, sub-par? With that in mind I’ll admit I was super nervous when my first day at the Missourian began last Monday. I was expecting the worst and prepared as best as I could be for the onslaught of criticism I assumed I would get for my writing. While the expected criticism has been somewhat partial (very constructive, though), this really isn’t as bad as I made it up to be. I jumped right in to my first story that night, picking up coverage of the City Council meeting. The meeting was at 7 p.m. and the story needed to be in no later than 11 p.m. A very quick turn around in my books, but I fought through and delivered. I think once I got over the initial hump of reporting–all the fears and unknowns–I began to settle into my role as a [student] reporter.

Since the first day I have wrote a total of six stories (one c0-written) of various lengths. I would say a little below average compared to some of the other students, but definitely better amount than how many stories I thought I would have had a week ago.

For the first week, I think I’ve noticed my ability to create flowing outlines for my stories. However, after my story edits with editors, there is a need to work on self-editing, creating tighter sentences and creating better transitions.


Note: I would have said something about my experience writing my first obituary but I wasn’t able to get ahold of any of the family for comment (i.e. didnt have the nervous conversations most would).

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