I’ve had to answer the question of “What do you think the future of journalism is?” in so many classes I can’t keep count. What’s most surprising is how my answer changes as my level of knowledge on the topic grows. I’m not planning on being a journalist as I get older, but I do feel that my knowledge on the topic has made me a much more rounded person.
I feel that journalism’s main purpose is to inform people on things going on in their world. This information is easier accessed by some more than others, but it’s a journalist’s job to inform. I feel that this will never change. Yes, you can walk outside and see what’s going on, but not everyone will go the extra mile to find out why it’s happening like a journalist will.
I do feel that journalism will go in the direction of online media and radio. It’s a more effective way to get out important and breaking news with this form of media. Online papers are becoming increasingly popular, and really do offer a lot for readers.
I think that although I don’t plan to be a journalist, I will play a roll in journalism with how I accept the information given to me, and how I get my news. I know the work that goes into providing people with that information, and feel that by respecting that, I’ll be making a difference in journalism.
When told that I’d cover the campus community, I’d thought that it wouldn’t be that difficult. Why? Because I’m a student myself. I thought that I would know what’s going on, have no problem finding story ideas, and have no problem finding people that wanted to talk to me. I was mistaken.
The biggest struggle was finding people that wanted to talk to me about things going on in the community. It was my job as a journalist to find stories that will have an effect on the largest amount of people and then see how they feel about it.
A great example of this was when I was asked to do a story of staff and faculty’s feelings about Gov. Walker’s proposed budget repair bill. What I found most interesting was how much people didn’t want to talk to me. I had a number of people say that they were scared for their jobs and didn’t want me to quote them on what they were saying.
Of course there was the opposite end of the spectrum as well, with people that wanted to give me a piece of their mind and have it announced to the world, but I learned that not everyone has something to say. And some have a lot to say, but you need to know how to get it out of them in the right way. I really enjoyed writing about the world around me, but better yet the community that I’m a part of.
My first assignment as a reporter for WRFW was on music professor, Hilree Hamilton. She’d passed away in January after a long battle with cancer. This was an interesting experience for me for a number of reasons. I’d never really had to interview people about a person before, let alone their friend that had passed away. Also, she’d passed away nearly a month prior to be being assigned the story, so I had to make sure I wrote the piece in the correct context.
Dr. Hamilton was a popular professor and important mentor for a number of students and people throughout campus and the community. Her main focus was children and loved teaching students how to work with them and teach them what she loved so much, music.
I was very surprised with a number of things regarding this story. I was surprised with how difficult it was. People were very willing to talk about Dr. Hamilton and what she did for them and the music department. But it’s very difficult to refer to someone in the past tense and ask people about how they’ll be effected now that that person is gone. I learned how to ask difficult questions, but also how to relate with the person I’m interviewing. I learned to interview people with a sense of sympathy, understanding, and relate ability. This made me a better journalist.
As difficult as it was to write an obituary piece for my first story, I’m glad I did. I formed a strong bond with the people I spoke to, and was able to help remember a great professor, person, and friend.