I survived reporting.
A month ago today all that was on my mind was how I would stand up to the task of switching my role as a photographer to a daily news reporter. I remember thinking how much doubt I had due to my experience with the prerequisite, J2100 News. I’ve always been self-conscious about what I write and my ability to put my thoughts onto paper—or keyboard
Now that my four weeks are up with reporting for the Columbia Missourian I feel like I have at the very least met what initial expectations I had for myself. While it is still difficult for me to get my thoughts down into cohesive sentences, I feel much better about writing and to write news stories. There were skills I most definitely gained through my reporting, however, I think I learned the most through the copy editing sessions we had after writing an article. When it came to copy edit my first story, a city council article that was on deadline, I was genuinely surprised the lack of criticism of my writing. “Maybe I can do this,” I thought to myself. From there on, each time it came to copy edit a story I wrote I learned something and tried to apply that knowledge into other stories.
As Aimee Gutshall brought up in our last budget meeting on Friday, the most important thing I took away was to not take what I thought a subject meant for granted. I might have thought I source meant one thing, but it’s important to confirm everything with them. This was most important because by doing so your good quotes would be usable and the structure of a story wouldn’t come into question and have to be totally re-worked on later. This finally sunk into me when I was writing an obituary. It was my first obit where I actually got a hold of a family member. They had great anecdotes and what I had written up was pretty solid—so I thought. When it came to copy edit there were little things in the story that didn’t connect and I had to call back multiple times to confirm information. I felt really bad about having to call back so many times, especially for an obit. The experience of writing this really put things into perspective for me. It learned that I need to listen more carefully when I interview someone. I’m not there just to write what they say, but to listen and ask and ask until I know information is the way it is supposed to be.
I think that for the four weeks I was reporting in the newsroom it would be very unlikely that I would be able to correct all my mistakes. Compared to where I started I believe there was improvement, though.
Seeing all the work that goes into putting together a story and the newspaper in out itself I’ve come to appreciate the effort the editors put into being “real” with us as students. Not one moment did I feel like I wasn’t treated with encouragement and trust from my editors. For all I knew prior to the class I thought I would be drilled into the ground with orders and rhetoric of “needing to do better.” I wasn’t though.
While I don’t know if I met all the expectations this course would hope for out its students, I think I did a pretty good job.
Here is the list of all the articles, photos and obits I did over the past four weeks:
- Columbia Public Schools thinks ahead of proposed food guidelines
- Columbia organizations collaborate to promote children’s emotional health
- Shooting leaves man with gunshot wound to neck
- TODAY’S QUESTION: Has your perception of the media changed after a false report said Gabrielle Giffords died?
- Teen honored for community service proposes honoring others
- TODAY’S QUESTION: Do you agree with the City Council’s vote to oppose the EPA’s plan for Hinkson Creek?
- Council votes to oppose EPA plan for Hinkson Creek
- Columbia Second Chance collects animal food and supply donations
- MedZou jumps in rank in Pepsi Refresh contest
- Police seeking information on missing Columbia man
- Council approves REDI’s lease of downtown garage space
- Council to hold hearing on Hinkson Creek plan
- Shoppers turn out Sunday to take advantage of post-holiday sales
What is next for me you ask? Well, starting Monday I will continue my Missourian crusade, but this time with photos!