September 19, 2005
A True Learning Experience
The Spot news assignment was a very interesting endeavour for me. Don't get me wrong, it was an ejoyable excercise, nonetheless I have a lot to learn.
I had in mind to write on the 1st ever home football game, however due to a cross country meet at Thiel University, I had to switch to a more convienient event. Since I had to be there anyway, I decided to write my article on the Honors Convocation.
This was a great idea because it really made me pay attention while the program was going on. Not that I wouldn't have anyway, but let's just say that there were many opportunities for one to lose interest. I however found that when you pay attention to something, anything, you will always find an interesting piece of information or two. For me, it was awesome to meet so many faculty members. Not just regular teachers either, they were exteremely warm hearted and friendly. This in turn made it easier for me to go and initiate conversations with people that I didn't know.
The program itself was very long and full of information. So I had to try and take as much in as I could. There were many awards and many people speaking which leads me to my first important lesson about newswriting: don't write everything that happened in your article. I realized that with all of the information that I had, my paper would be too long.
One thing that really helped me was that I quoted seven or eight people. I learned that it's always a good thing to quote as many people as you can because you never know what quote will fit where in your story. I'd have to say that getting quotes was probably my favorite part of the whole excercise. During the interviewing process I got to meet friendly professors and students. I even got to talk to President Boyle one-on-one. I really enjoyed this conversation because it made me feel that I wasn't just a student here at SHU, I was someone important in which the president of the University had time to sit down and talk to.
The paper itself was a whole new ballgame. I think that since I had so much information, I felt compelled to make sure that it was all touched upon in my article. What I learned in the two hour workshop on friday however, is that you don't need all of that information. You need to stick with the info that agrees with your lead.
The lead. Another issue for me was that my information did not stay on topic. My paper was more of a feature piece than a news article. It gave a whole overview of the program, and did not follow the "upside down pyramid" theory. I realized that my lead was too broad and I needed to slim it down by picking a narrower topic.
Thanks to the brilliant minds of my classmates, Evan, Kevin, and Michelle, I found out that my paper also consisted of a large amount of wordiness. I could say the same thing with less words which also made my article shorter, and easier to keep the attention of the reader.
I'd have to say that the thing that helped me the most was attending the optional workshop last friday. I believed that my article was "good" and I was confident about it, until I attended that class. Then I realized that I could improve on countless mistakes.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and am glad that I decided to stick with the class. I really like the journalism aspect of English and maybe I'll change my path towards that direction in the future. I met lots of people in the process of this excercise as well and that is always a plus. It was great to feel like someone important, even if it only lasts for a little while and this assignment did just that.
Posted by AndrewLoNigro at September 19, 2005 01:57 PM
Andy, you're talking to the queen of wordiness. I'm become a pro at shoving 50 pounds of bull in a 10 pound bag. Like you, I'm having problems getting the hang of writing as a journalist and not as a literature major. However, news writing is a whole different world, and I'm finding myself enjoying it.
Posted by: Katie Lambert at September 24, 2005 08:11 PM
Like Lamb, said ....
we need to condense.
It is so hard, though, being an English major and doing the Journalism thing. I want more words, not less. Sigh, time will tell....
Posted by: Katie Aikins at September 26, 2005 04:07 PM