Sarah Mervosh: Interview Assessment

Name of Professional: Ms. Sarah Mervosh

Profession/Title: Breaking News Enterprise Reporter

Business/Company Name: Dallas Morning News
Date of Interview: 19 September 2016

My first informational interview was with Ms. Sarah Mervosh, a breaking news enterprise reporter at the Dallas Morning News. This interview being my first, I hoped to expand my knowledge of the journalism industry with emphasis on differences between broadcast and print journalism, a day in the life of a journalist, and the necessary steps taken to become one. Because I am still uncertain which particular platform of journalism I would like to work on, I was aiming to gain some knowledge as to what each one requires and how they differ. Ms. Mervosh’s point of view on this subject was incredibly beneficial, as she has experience working in broadcast as well as newspaper journalism.

From the interview, I learned that a major difference between print and broadcast journalism is that print journalism is far more in-depth, while you are allotted only a few minutes to present a story on television. TV journalism is all about showcasing the facts in a concise, to-the-point sort of way, while print journalism allows the writer to dive deeper below surface level and really analyze the story. This was extremely helpful as it answered one of my major questions that I came into ISM with. It was encouraging as well, because I can now look forward to spending time really digging into the details of my future stories.

Ms. Mervosh also brought to my attention the importance of having persistence in journalism.  This incredibly beneficial information will allow me to begin developing important skills ahead of time and give me an idea of what to expect. Ms. Mervosh detailed the drive that broadcast journalists must have in order to achieve their goals, and how they must know that being on television is definitely what they want to do. Similarly, she described the initiative that is essential to newspaper journalists when acquiring quotes, as there are many situations in which people may not wish to comment. This was also an essential aspect of the interview, as it has ruled out broadcast journalism as a career option for me. Because I would ideally like my writing in some form of publication, and because I am not completely devoted to being televised, I have decided to focus more on print journalism in the future.

Furthermore, Ms. Mervosh presented some information that conflicted with my previous knowledge, which was if you want a career in journalism, do not major in journalism. Rather, major in what you want to write about. This seemed counterintuitive to me at first, but after a moment of consideration it all made sense; wouldn’t it be more helpful to have an extensive knowledge on the subject you will be writing about rather than on just the skills to write it? While writing skills are still vital, having an extensive knowledge of your subject matter and being able to closely it is the most crucial. This will be applicable in the future of both my ISM study and my college years, as it will guide my choosing of a college major as well as an area of journalism on which to focus.

The information that Ms. Mervosh was kind enough to present me with has given me a great start to my interview experiences. Now that a few of my fundamental questions have been answered, I can make the most of my coming interviews by combining my previous knowledge with my newly acquired knowledge to create new questions that have arisen. In my future interviews, I am curious to learn if there are any types of stories that are better certain platforms of journalism (ex. “Are breaking news stories better suited for online journalism because it is the fastest way to get news to the public?”). My interview with Ms. Mervosh has taught me that if I remain persistent, have thick skin, and obtain extensive knowledge of the subject matter that I will be writing about, I will be on my way to becoming a successful journalist.

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