Reporting 101

Today is the last day of class for the semester. What a great feeling. In our reporting lecture this morning, Katherine asked all of us to write a final blog post about what we wish we’d known when we started the semester.

This is by no means my final blog post, (who are we kidding, I’ve still got a whole week to go), but OH. WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN.

#1. Don’t be scared.  Yes, going into something you’ve never done before is scary, but don’t let it hinder you. Everyone is in the same boat. Let the fear of the unknown motivate you. It’s a pretty cool feeling when you realize you’ve pushed yourself a little outside of your comfort zone. It’s even cooler when you see your work that comes as a result. I will admit that I don’t think I let the fear motivate me enough. I stepped out of my comfort zone a decent amount, but there were times when I still let it inhibit me.

#2. It’s more than okay to cry. Breakdowns in the newsroom are normal. Expected. It’s a stressful job, a stressful semester, and damnit that source didn’t tell me he was going out of town!

#3. Your editor is amazing. Your editor is a fabulous resource. They (the editors) don’t exist simply to scare you. I do not know how I would have survived this semester if not for Liz. She is wonderful.

#4. Enjoy it. Make friends with your beat-mates. Make friends with other reporters. Make friends with your ACEs and the editors. It’s okay to laugh in the newsroom. It’s even okay to come to the newsroom and not work on journalism stuff. (It’s actually a really great place to get work done, I like to come here and escape sometimes. Weird, I know.) Make the most of it. You’re here for a semester. Settle in and get as comfortable as you can so you can make it out alive.

So there they are. The four lessons I would pass on to myself if I were taking this class over. (But I would really not wish that upon anyone.) Would my old self listen to my seasoned, wiser self? Mmm that’s debatable. (I’m pretty stubborn.) At the very least though, hearing some positive feedback would have calmed my nerves on the first day.

So for any prospective reporting students: take it from someone who never thought they would survive this class and nearly burst into tears every time they entered the newsroom for the first two weeks – you can do this.


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