I Believe … (Reflection on Course and All Things News)

Here are the “I Believe” statements from the beginning of the semester:

I believe –

  1. that the role professional news organizations play in my life will grow and evolve throughout this course. I feel that I will pay more attention to not only the news presented by professional news organizations but also the way that the news is presented by those organizations.
  2. that the most challenging thing about being a journalist is not being afraid to have people (sometimes a very large amount of people) disagree with the content that you present. Although I often find controversial topics the most interesting, I feel like I would be afraid of the critics aggressively disagreeing with the information that I present.
  3. that the future of news is heavily reliant on digital media.
  4. that my greatest strength as a journalist is that I have a passion for writing – I usually don’t have a difficult time transferring my thoughts to written words.
  5. that my greatest challenge as a journalist is finding the right people to interview.
  6. that the best journalism makes the reader feel as if what they are reading affects their life directly.
  7. that the biggest problem with journalism today is that so much of it never fully reveals the whole story…
  8. that the biggest opportunity facing news organizations today is that its so easy to reach out to young people. It used to be that you had to buy a newspaper for access to a wide variety of news topics. Now, however, news is nearly free and is so accessible that it’s often stumbled upon by accident.
  9. that interviewing people about news is fun! – as long as the person you are interviewing is an interesting character so that it will add life and personality to your story.
  10. that writing for the general public is rewarding. Writing for the general public means that your voice is able to be heard and that topics that you feel passionate about are able to be presented and exploited.

I would say that, throughout this course, the beliefs written here have stayed constant. A few that I would like to reflect on, however, are #5 and #8. At the beginning of the semester, I would not have imagined that finding people to interview for a news story is as difficult as it panned out for me. I did not realize that so many people are a) either too busy to speak with you or b) have no desire to speak with you at all. I also did not realize the amount of time that it takes in order to compose a great news story. Although physically writing a story of 1000 words or so is not incredibly time consuming, interviewing two to five people regarding the subject that you are writing about is incredibly time consuming.

Thanks to this class, I was hired by the Michigan Daily to write for their Health and Wellness Section – a new section that will hopefully be fully integrated in the paper by next school year. I haven’t been able to give them any stories yet because I am now aware of how much time interviewing people takes. I am glad that I learned interviewing skills in this class, or else I would be like a fish out of water and be well unaware of the time commitment that interviewing is.

Also because of this class, I have developed a newfound respect for journalists and people working in the media industry. Not only does working in the industry take a lot of time an effort, but people can be difficult to work with and that increases the amount of time and effort that is demanded. There is also a level of risk associated with working in the industry, because you can never be 100% certain that the stories you write will be published. Through all the stories told to us throughout the course regarding journalism experiences, whether by Julie, Emilia, or a guest speaker, I have developed a deep admiration for the work and a better understanding of why news is so important.

I have enjoyed being a part of this class because not only did I get to learn about the news industry, I also got to meet so many interesting people of all different types of backgrounds. I’ve also been able to learn about a wide variety of topics pertaining to the environment and public health. Through it all, my writing has improved and I’ve developed a more mature way of looking at news as a whole.

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About heathercnet

19, University of Michigan student, Michigan Marching Band

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