It may be hard to believe, but some of the “politicians” I’ve met while covering Student Senate seem to be a bit two-faced.
I’ve had some very good relations with some while others seem a bit skeptical. It’s certainly made for some awkward rides in the elevator.
Most recently, after a story was published a senator I quoted complimented me on it and said he thought it turned out very well.
Several days before, I requested to speak to the same senator and others regarding a separate issue. He accidentally carbon copied (cc) me in an email to his peers saying: “I suggest we do NOT speak with the Voice on this [issue]… I suggest we ignore this request for an interview.”
He later apologized and I can respect his choice to decline an interview. At the same time it is interesting to see how my requests are interpreted and how my sources communicate with each other.
Tomorrow will be a revealing day as the possible impeachment of Chair Tyler Halverson is brought to the table. The tensions will be a little high and the questions won’t be sugar coated. We will see how the senators really view me: maybe as an advocate, public relations representative or a nosy muckraker.
One of the most enjoyable stories for me to write was on the business outlook of local video rentals.
New forms of video rental take growing market share
This story was not something that I had to try and make interesting to students. I feel a lot of my audience could relate to the story and my sources were very compliant by at least giving me some general information on the direction their sales were going.
Some days it seems that many stories on campus need to be accompanied by a song and a dance to be read and taken seriously. It feels as though the readers are really complacent and indifferent. Many students seem to say, “Differential tuition is increasing? Well I’ll be gone before then…” So making stories interesting enough to get their attention has been a challenge. When I covered Student Senate and wrote stories about the new fee to pay for building managers or something else fairly dull I felt the only person reading them straight through were my mom and my editor.
Perhaps creating a personal interest for readers is an area I could improve on. Sometimes just accurately reporting facts doesn’t mean it’s a well-written story.
Covering the Student Senate as one of my beats while reporting for the Student Voice was a source of consistency for me and taught me a lot about maintaining relationships with sources.
While sometimes reporting on breaking news or something that needed chasing down could be thrilling, covering Student Senate and letting the news come to me was relieving and provided me with a sense of consistency.
I attended nearly every Student Senate meeting and by doing so became a recognizable face to many student senators. My first story that I wrote was an introduction/profile of the new Senate President, Leigh Monson that opened up my relations with him easily and instantly.
I was also very surprised about the willingness of the senators to speak with me about issues especially considering the rocky history the Senate and the Voice have. I particularly remember one day while covering a controversial story about Senate elections, I was actually swarmed after the Senate meeting by senators and guests who wanted to tell me their take on the issues.
The whole while my sources, some of whom were personal friends of mine, were open and willing to speak with me but smart enough to be guarded about what they told me. I learned quickly to respect their right not to comment on some of the questions I asked them. As a result, I feel the relationship between the Student Senate and the Voice became more professional and less personal.