This week, Frisco ISM spent a day on the University of North Texas campus. I had the privilege of sitting in on three different college journalism/writing classes taught by experienced and knowledgeable professors. From attending these classes, I learned not only what a day in the life of a college student is like, but also about the logistics of gathering resources in the form of public records, as well as how to go about talking to human sources about a story.
My Intro to Creative Writing class was a refreshing return to the world of poetic writing, the art of weaving words together and using their connotation to give a certain tone to writing. It was nice to have a reminder of the emotional and creative side of writing in the world of objectivity that surrounds journalism; from this class I learned how to find the balance of pathos and logos in my writing.
Taking Intro to Media Writing provided much needed insight into the process of collecting quotes on a story. I learned that gathering a large number of sources from varying backgrounds and points of view will provide the most in-depth version of the story. It was also explained to me why it is better to gather your sources as early as possible. If a journalist gathers information from sources while the events of the story are fresh in their mind, the account they offer will be more reliable and more accurate; also, more people may be willing to speak out about it.
Comparatively, Reporting on Public Affairs gave me an in-depth look on the process of requesting records as well as the characteristics of an in-depth report on a public affair. As a journalist, I realize that I will have to analyze and utilize public records in countless cases. After taking class from Pulitzer Prize winner Ms. Gayle Reaves-King, I know how to be insistent in requesting those records and persistent in obtaining the information that its owners may not be immediately willing to give. Additionally, I was exposed to the level of depth that a journalist must go into when profiling a public affair. In these analytical studies, journalists must bring every minute detail on every subject involved to the light; they must do extensive background research and ask hard-hitting questions.
My first experience in taking a college course has been extremely beneficial in my ISM study, as it has opened my eyes to several specific processes that are key to journalism. I now know how to more efficiently gather quotes from sources as well as utilize public records, and I plan on implementing this knowledge in the near future as I write articles for my original work and final product.