Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

Update After A Long Absence

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I’d like to think my previous post may have explained the long period I have been away from this blog, but in the world of news, excuses don’t cut it. My apologies, readers! There has been a lot of chaos in the Saginaw News office, starting with a pre-prom shooting on Thursday, May 23 that killed one student and injured three women.

On Friday, the 17-year-old female victim was identified as Tonquinisha “NeNe” McKinley. It was a difficult day as everyone worked to contact family members and talk to other students from Arthur Hill High School who were celebrating their prom the next day. My own thoughts were with a young girl I interviewed last year, who was also 17 and attended Saginaw High, as we waited to confirm identities of those involved in the shooting. There was no relief after   more information was released; although the Saginaw police department is following up on leads and asking the public for help, no suspects have been identified. 

As an intern, it is frustrating to be in the middle of a situation where there is little you can do. Crime is not my beat, and with limited sources and information, there was not much to be done. Until I considered social media. As a graduate of Delta College and owner of two Facebook accounts, I have some pretty good contacts in the area and began working on a Storify post on how residents and students have reacted since the shooting

One person even began a hashtag, #prayforsaginaw, that made Twitter posts easier to find and I was able to use as the main art for the page. I was happy with the end results; the post received almost 2,000 views and a few comments from MLive users.

Another disadvantage to being an intern is automatic sign-up to work holidays and weekends, which is not really a disadvantage when you love to write and work hard. So I may have worked over the weekend at my other job (I usually have at least two, as many as four jobs at one time) but came into the office, bright and early, on Monday, May 27 or Memorial Day.

The day started off slow; checking messages and the fax machine, writing up top story posts for both Bay City and Saginaw publications. Then my editor called with some unfortunate news to break: the body of a priest was found in his church over the weekend.

Rev. Craig L. Albrecht most likely died of natural causes Thursday evening and was found after members of the church arrived Saturday afternoon; the full article is available here, along with a gallery I assembled using archived images of Albrecht. It was a surprisingly quick post as a source called me back within an hour of leaving a message at the church, so I was still able to attend my major assignment of the day.

The photographer on duty picked me up at the office to head over to the Memorial Day parade running through Saginaw, where I spoke with residents who were attending for the first time and veterans being honored at a special ceremony in Hoyt Park. After speaking with a few sources, I got a lot of great quotes and future story ideas but did make one lady tear up as we talked about her son she lost in Iraq. The story ran on the front page of the Saginaw News the next day, along with some wonderful photos so I was pleased with the results.

Veterans salute the American flag during a ceremony for Memorial Day in Saginaw.

This week, I have assignments ranging from a local student at a national spelling bee, Thunder in the Valley games at Saginaw Valley State University and a potential visit to see a Kleenex project created by elementary students. Let me know if you want to hear more about a certain topic, need some advice or have any suggestions for future posts. Until then, thanks for reading and I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


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