Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

Posts Tagged ‘journalism students

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!

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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!