Wherever the Story Takes Me: My Journey as a Journalism Student

I’ve been a closet nerd most of my life. I say closet because I’ve always been the personable, class events, party-throwing friend. But I was also the friend who informed anyone who would listen what was going on in Syria. I was the one who followed politics, economics, and social issues, trying to figure out the why behind the what. So when it came to choosing a major, the answer was easy: journalism.

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Enter freshman me, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on a world of current events, social injustices, and scandal. All in a blazer and pair of fabulous heels.

Just a year and a half later, I was ready to give up. I was overwhelmed, burnt out, and not even sure I liked journalism anymore—let alone ready to dedicate my life to it. When someone said the word journalism I felt stress, boredom, and an overall feeling of dread.

Thankfully, the young rise again and love gets a second chance.

It started with my summer internship in Dallas during summer 2013, where I worked for WFAA Channel 8. I didn’t want to go. Like I said, I didn’t know if I liked journalism, and I definitely didn’t like TV news. I’ll be honest; for some reason I had a bias that TV journalism pandered and was somehow a lesser medium. I basically went because I had to do something to fill my graduation requirements.

Then I discovered the power and fun in telling a story visually. I watched these reporters who had been working in the field thirty plus years, day in and day out, find stories people cared about, ask hard questions, and do it all with excellence. I learned that each medium has its own point of view to share. However, I knew that while I enjoyed video, broadcast journalism probably wasn’t for me.

Fast forward to Spring 2014, to little ol’ me sitting in Multimedia Storytelling. I had no idea what I was walking into—a class that would stress me out, challenge me, excite me, and reignite a passion for a field that’s always been a first love.

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I’d spent this entire year wondering where I fit in journalism. Thankfully for me, the answer fell in my lap: online multimedia.

In my skewed view, I had felt limited by the different media, seeing them as competitive instead of collaborative. In this class, I discovered that in multimedia journalism there is incredible potential to tell stories and make people care. By combining text, video, infographics, links, audio, photography, etc., I can show people more fully why I get so excited about news.

And the best part? I don’t have to do it alone.

One of the biggest take aways from this class is that news at its most excellent is covered in a team. I collaborated with other students—students who were often better at writing, taking video, making infographics, or researching than me—while still keeping my personal creativity and voice. I learned from others while contributing my strengths. And the results were something I think we can all be proud of.

So the end to my story? I for one have re-fallen in love with the field of journalism.

Now when I hear the word journalism, I get excited. I once again devour current events hoping one day to cover them myself. I see local stories as a way to impact someone’s life. I am filled with passion when I face the challenge of explaining a complicated story simply and engagingly. And now, I have so many more tools to do it.

From closet nerd to hard-nosed journalist, now more than ever, I’m ready to take on the world in whatever platform or medium the story takes me.

Deep into Dunkies

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My roommate is in love with Dunkin’ Donuts. And when I say in love, I really mean obsessed. And truth be told, she’s got me hooked too.

When we had to analyze a corporate newsletter for my PR writing class, where did I turn? Dunkies.

Dunkies’ newsletter falls into the special interest category and focuses on both Dunkin’ Donuts’ news and the “quick-serve industry” news. As you can see below, the articles center around Dunkin’ Donuts business openings and how the fast food industry is changing:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts Makes Plans for 46 New Units in Sacramento (2)
  • Dunkin’ Lays Plans for 22 New Stores (1)
  • Build the Buzz (broadcasting and fast food) (2)
  • A Whole New Game (fast food at sporting events) (1)
  • The Growth 40 (basketball players eat fast food) (2)
  • Breaking with Tradition (breakfast sandwiches) (3)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Unveils Valentine’s Day Offerings (3)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Plans Opening at Northwestern University (1)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts Loyalty App Ready for Take Off (3)

The key publics of this newsletter are Dunkies’ or fast food industry employees and business owners. I think some of these articles would be interesting and some would flop in regards to this audience. I’ve rated the articles for interest above: 3 for very interesting, 2 for mas o menos, 1 for not that interesting. It basically comes down to new information or new events. For example, Dunkin’ Donuts’ Valentine’s Day sounds has a novel aspect to it; Fast food at sporting events, not so much.

I have several ideas for photo ideas that will address a major weakness I see in the newslettermultimedia. In today’s day and age, it’s not enough to have text and a logo. It would greatly enhance the newsletter if they could add these elements:

  1. Video feature story on CEO of Dunkies.
  2. Photo gallery of employees across the nation.
  3. Interactive map showing the most productive stores across the nation.

As a whole, I think it is somewhat effective a a newsletter. The format is easy to read, however, the layout is boring. Navigation is intuitive, but there is not many photographs or multimedia elements. Overall, it serves the people it aims to but still could use some work as far as interest and excitement comes in.

As for me, I’ll be taking advantage of the “Breakfast Tradition” and go get my Dunkies on.

Out of Context: The Social Media Conundrum

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It was late at night. I was in my apartment after a long school/work day for some mindless surfing of facebook. Lo and behold, I came across something else that night–another news article shared completely taken out of context.

And the question that comes to my mind is how long? How long will we continue to share stories, news bits, photos, and videos without checking source credibility, source agenda, or even stoping to consider the larger context of the issue?

A major issue my generation complains about is the way political sides are both divided and divisive. I wonder if one cause might be that our society uses social media to “share news” without bothering to read or understand the actual issue at hand.

The problem is two-fold. In our busy schedules we don’t take the time to read the four articles the New York Times have published about an issueyet complain when the media doesn’t give context.

What social media needs is this millennial generation to use what they know to start making intelligent posts about the news, social issues, and politics. I know out generation can. And only when this happens will I be able to skim facebook, or twitter, or whatever other social media sight, without cringing over the context conundrum.