Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

Posts Tagged ‘Central Michigan University

What’s Different (and the Same) from the Last Internship

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It seems a lot of people have appreciated my list of lessons from last week and it got me thinking about the things I learned last year, during my fall internship with MLive, and what I could be learning this summer. Although I am working in the same offices, with most of the same people, there are a few key differences between my internships that could change what kind of content I produce.

DIFFERENCES

  • Time of the year: The fall is usually pretty busy in regards to the news; elections, back-to-school and construction sites putting the last touches on brand-new buildings. Summers in Saginaw get a bit crazy; crime rate spikes are attributed to increased gang activity during warmer months so I am expecting to hear more gunshots and possibly report on shootings or injuries within the area.
  • Intern team: Last year, I worked with Emily Pfund and Josh Roesner on stories like Doomsday prophecies, the long-anticipated Twilight release and police beats. We had a lot of fun and I’m glad to say they have both moved on to adult jobs at their own chosen publications. I’m excited to get to know Darcie Moran from Michigan State University, the newest intern at The Saginaw News.
  • Experience: Although my first day was mostly spent getting back into the system and clearing out my overstuffed inbox, I was able to post and get back into the swing of things relatively quickly. Since I am familiar with the systems in place at the office, it helped streamline the process of making contacts and working on story projects with other reporters at the Saginaw News. 

SIMILARITIES

  • Same office: Even though I started my internship last year in the office of The Bay City Times, renovations were soon completed at Saginaw and we were able to see our beautiful new office in the downtown area’s Ippel Building. I know how to get there at least four different ways and it’s a central location. Great for meeting for interviews, catching up with coworkers or going out to eat for a break during the day.
  • Same editors: I am pretty fortunate to have the editors I work with on a daily basis. Since the beginning, they have supported me, encouraged me and nudged me in the right direction. Ever since I met my boss Rob Clark at the Michigan Press Association, he has given me chances to shine, improve my writing styles and helped me stand out  from a crowd of other interns. When this summer internship become available and someone was needed in a hurry, I was the first one called and I’m grateful to have that sort of influence.
  • Same purpose: Journalism is not a dying breed but it is definitely changing. But the one thing I like about this career is my motivation stays the same: Inform the public, educate the community and engage residents. My time at MLive has helped me help others and made me realize it is not just a reporter’s job I want, but the responsibilities of being a journalist. 

 

Thanks for hanging in while I reflect back and look forward to the future with my new internship. I was supposed to work a night shift today but got up early to shoot some pictures of local apple orchards for a story I wrote about the recent weather. The full article is available here if you would like to see the gallery and learn more about the predicted crop this year. Have a great day!

 

The First Five Days: Lessons from a Student Journalist

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Pictured is a juvenile male bald eagle, released back into the wild at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

Pictured is a juvenile male bald eagle, released back into the wild at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting my first week back at the Saginaw News but after looking back on the assignments I covered, the content I produced over the last few days, I cannot be happier. I have been able to make some new goals for myself this summer as well as learn a few new things.

What better way to illustrate my first week than a list of those lessons? So here it is, five lessons from a student journalist, back in the newsroom at last!

  1.  Always say yes (unless you really have to say no): Editors will throw assignments at you left and right. It’s key to figure out which ones are priority and what can wait. I also like to try and cover things I have experience or connections with. My second day on the job involved covering school board elections; luckily, I had experience from the Bay County elections last year and was able to jump in and help another reporter out at the request of my editor.
  2. Never let a co-worker get you down: Somebody in the newsroom did not like my coverage of a protest and were pretty vocal about it, right in front of me. While I did make a case for myself and an editor stepped in to mediate, it was an important reminder that not everyone believes something is as newsworthy as you. Although you should be able to back up your reasoning, you also shouldn’t let it affect your work or mood for that day. Two days later, the co-workers and I were conversing normally, because at the office, grudges don’t last. Everyone has to work together and no one has time for that sort of thing.
  3. Go to lunch with your co-workers: This is not just good for morale, but could bring about new story ideas and connections. I received a few tips this week I passed along to other reporters, who were glad for the material. Relaxing over a meal and getting out from behind the desk often clears up your mind and makes brain-storming a lot easier. Take breaks! Take a quick walk around the block to go over a story project your group has been needing to start. Not only will you gain back some energy, but you will create more!
  4. Stay objective: This is an easy lesson to remember since it is one of the key part of the Society of Professional Journalist’s code of ethics. While covering the Dow Chemical Company’s Annual Stockholders Meeting, I was presented with a lot of information about all the good things the company is doing. Just outside the doors, there was a group of protesters with signs and details on the bad things Dow should be held responsible for. Both sides want publicity and they want good publicity; this is where two journalists, one for each, come in handy! Work together or equally with each side to make sure you are being fair and not going to make anyone mad. (For the full article about the protest, along with a picture gallery shot by yours truly, click the link here!)
  5. Be ready for any type of assignment, at any place, in any type of weather: It was Friday and I was really looking forward to the weekend and a bit of relaxation. As I was about to head out for lunch, my editor called with a surprise assignment… in an hour. When I found out what it was, I couldn’t pass it up and quickly drove to the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge to see something amazing. What wasn’t amazing was the weather: grey, cold and rainy. But seeing a male eagle released back into the wild is something rare and thrilling enough to forget the mud caking my boots and my hair whipping across my face, into my mouth and eyes. A key reminder for any journalists is to be prepared for anything; leave a pair of boots, a change of clothes and a warm, waterproof coat in the trunk of your car so you won’t get to miss seeing something like a wild animal taking off into the unknown and back to the habitat where it is supposed to be. To read the full article and see the amazing photos, click here!

I hope this advice has made sense! Feel free to comment or give me any feedback, whether on the article or if you have something you would like to add. Happy Mother’s Day to all and have a great weekend!

Back To The Office: Part Two

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Today marked the start of my summer internship with The Saginaw News-MLive and I cannot be happier to be back in the newsroom. I recently finished my first semester at Central Michigan University and am ready to get back on the scene after completing a fall editorial internship in 2012.

Midland Northeast Middle School Science Teacher Anthony Bauer monitors his eighth grade students tests as the students take the test using his Apple iPad. Since the release of the tablet device last April, Bauer has tried to push it to its limits in the classroom, using it to give presentations, organize student data, along with basic web functions such as e-mail and surfing the Internet.

Midland Northeast Middle School Science Teacher Anthony Bauer monitors his eighth grade students tests as the students take the test using his Apple iPad.

Although my first day was pretty much spent resetting my accounts and editing my MLive profile, which you can view here, I was able to schedule stories to focus on over the next week and some assignments. I am attending the Dow Chemical Annual Stockholder’s Meeting, or “the Meeting,” on Thursday with fellow reporter Justin Engel, from The Bay City Times and covering the Everyday Hero award banquet for the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority next week.

There was even enough time for a quick post. One of the things that drew me towards journalism when considering a career was the opportunity to learn and share that knowledge with others. I learned about a new technology initiative by Midland Public Schools is going before the voters, with the potential of putting an iPad in the hands of every student in the district and the cost of around $20.8 million. The full article is available here.

I am reporting on the results tomorrow and will have an update to share as soon as final tallies are completed. Class may be a memory soon but I am earning credits for this internship, hence the continuance of the JournStudent Jess blog. My hope is you will keep following and offer any feedback, advice or comments you might think of this summer. Thanks for reading!

Checking on Congress: A video diary by Jessica Haynes

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I recently found out the house my parents brought me home to was torn down. So I set out in Saginaw to find out what happened and to talk a walk around my old neighborhood. The following is a video diary I created using video and still photography from the bright Sunday afternoon I returned to Congress Street. Below the picture is a full-length article with additional information about the disappearing house phenomenon happening in Saginaw.

Here is a link to the video diary.

Image

FULL ARTICLE: Checking on Congress by Jessica Haynes

It’s been 18 years since I visited my old neighborhood in Saginaw and when I heard the house I grew up in was gone, I knew I had to return and check on the state of Congress.

My parents brought me home the summer of 1990 to a little house with black shutters, at 1115 Congress Street. The house barely covers 900 square feet; I still remember sharing a bedroom with my sisters at the “little house” as we called it.

A bit of research revealed the house, estimated at $32,000 by the real estate company Trulia, was sold for $1 in 2005. After it was purchased by the Saginaw County Land Bank for $3,112, the property was selected for demolition.

While I was taking pictures of the empty place where my house once stood, Saginaw resident Donquavis Gibson approached to ask if I was turning the area into a parking lot. I told him that I was just trying to find out to the house that once stood there.

Gibson, 21, informed me the house I lived in was tore down just a few months ago and added other properties on Congress had been turned into parking lots by Covenant Healthcare. I asked him how he felt about the demolitions.

“It’s cool, money make money. I ain’t tripping,” Gibson replied.

He said many of the residents in the area were homeowners and that the hospital was trying to move them out of the neighborhood. Two houses on my old block are now boarded up, decorated with bright yellow arson signs to deter any potential troublemakers.

Saginaw resident Victor Colon Junior, 63, lives on Benjamin Street and said he wants to see something beneficial planned for the empty lots.

“If nobody is going to maintain them, might as well put the land to good use,” Colon said.

Just three blocks away, an ordinary house stands out from the others lining Bond Street. The body of 23-year-old Saginaw resident Angelica Olivarez was found inside the residence little over a week ago.

Her death brought hundreds together to not only mourn her loss but console each other as a community. Saginaw has been rated one of the most dangerous cities by the FBI as recently as 2011.

A sign on the corner of Congress and Benjamin reads that the Saginaw Neighborhood Stabilization program is at work in this area.

Housing Coordinator Miss Johnston said the organization acquires foreclosed or abandoned properties in order to rehabilitate or rebuild for future homeowners.

“People are interested in our program. This is a good market to buy and we have been very successful with the houses we have rehabbed and sold,” Johnston said.

The program is limited in what else it can do for my old neighborhood; it is nearing the end of its three-year run.

“As soon as we have acquired buyers for our last properties we are working on, the program will be over,” Johnston said.

Although I can visit the two other houses that have sheltered me, the little house on Congress Street is gone. Row of pine trees are left, and whether or not the property is used by hospital employees or left alone to silently nurture what is growing it its soil, the land is still there.

Written by hayne2jr

April 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Venture Out! Exploring the Chippewa Nature Center During Spring Migration

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As part of my video project, I visited the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland to talk to a naturalist about how the spring migration has gone so far. It was an early morning in April when I arrived and the weather was not working with me; it was cloudy, cold and a bit dismal.
During my time at the Visitor Center, I spoke with Central Michigan University graduate, 34-year-old Jenn Kirts, about what species have been seen this year and how the weather has affected any of their behaviors.
I have visited the Chippewa Nature Center many times before and was familiar with many of the trails we discussed. Kirts was friendly and easy to interview; we ended up chatting at the end of a long room that looks out over the Chippewa and Pine rivers.
The hardest part of this project for me was editing. After some initial “save project” problems with iMovie, I switched to a different program I had a bit more familiarity with, Adobe Premier Pro. Although I had most of the initial cutting, editing and figured out my cutaways with an original project, I did not have enough time to include most of the second version. It was a challenge adding in consistent transitions and trying to keep track of the lengths to keep them uniform but Adobe worked better in that aspect. Overall, I had a good time working on this project and was satisfied with the final project.

Written by hayne2jr

April 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Timeline of JRN 340 Blog Posts

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http://www.meograph.com/citizenhaynes/37680/timeline-of-jrn-340-blog-posts

I created this Meograph for a class assignment in JRN 340: Intro to Online Journalism. Having used this medium before, I felt comfortable setting up a timeline with photos and links regarding my blog posts on WordPress.

The purpose of the website, Meograph, is to create not only a timeline but to make a visually appealing multimedia project in order to better explain a story. I would definitely continue to use this in the future because it incorporates many elements, like photographic stills, video, text, Google maps and even narration, to better connect to readers. This is a great tool when you have different mediums you want to merge into one without overpowering other parts.

Written by hayne2jr

April 3, 2013 at 12:31 am

Working with stats: How to not only make an info-graphic but also make it interesting

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In today’s class, my fellow journalism students and I learned about the power of info-graphics and how they can be used to tell a story, show statistics in a visual manner and attract readers who go after images rather than text. The professor then set us loose to make our own creations so here it goes!

Pie Chart Info-graphicchart

Above is a pie chart, created using Google ChartEditor. It depicts the percentage of minority students at Central Michigan University, based on the incoming freshman class of 2010. I found the data on CMU’s official website, from the Office of Diversity, and thought a chart would be the best way to illustrate the amount of diversity on campus. I would use Google ChartEditor in the newsroom in order to help readers understand basic data sets since it was relatively easy to figure out and appeals to readers who learn through visuals.

Getting to know a location with Google Maps

I then created a map of downtown Midland for new visitors, with pins to indicate favorite spots and businesses in the area. Google Maps was pretty simple to use but would not allow the map to be embedded as an image. Hence, it is now included as a hyperlink and you can get to it by clicking here.

More than likely, I will use this tool again as a journalist. Many readers are familiar with Google and the company is well-known and has a professional reputation. I would create maps with this to illustrate how numerous locations are connected or close to each other. Overall,  I think info-graphics are a great way to illustrate information if used with the right kind of data. Thanks for reading!