Introduction and Purpose
For my final product, I plan to write a feature story article highlighting a local health and fitness or food story and have it published on D Magazine’s website. Because the journalism industry is constantly changing as far as the stories available, I may have to adjust my subject matter or even switch to another topic entirely to account for what the magazine wants published. However, I know for a fact that these two areas (food and health/fitness) both have channels on the D website, and it reasonable and easily feasible for me to publish a story under either of them. No matter the subject matter, I plan to work closely with my mentor to compose, edit, fact-check, and publish my article on one of the channels of the D Magazine website. Through writing this article, my purpose is to gain my first professional publication experience; I hope to see how a professional journalist collaborates with others, goes through trial and error with sources, relentlessly fact-checks, and proofreads carefully to get their story into print. By experiencing the road to publication for myself, I will be fully prepared for future publication opportunities and know what to expect as far as timing and logistics.
Review of Skills and Research
Much of my research will be applied in creating my final product, as I am now going to have the opportunity to write a story much like the ones I have analyzed for research, applying all of the concepts I have learned at once. I will be able to maintain objectivity, make use of social media in gaining background information and perhaps even acquiring quotes for the article, and include all sides of the story without excluding any “undesirable” facts, all aspects of writing that I have completed research assessments over. Furthermore, I will learn new skills in bringing this article to fruition; I will learn how to fact-check in a professional environment, how to write in APA style to maintain credibility and correctness, and how to conduct an editorial meeting in a professional environment. All of these skills will be instrumental in my development of a journalism career, and my final product will be a tool to help me acquire them.
To bring my product to completion, I will first need to consult with my mentor as well as the other writers and editors working on the D website. I will need to hear a list of stories that they are looking at publishing and choose one to tackle for my product. In order to do this, I will need to sit in on an editorial meeting in the office, speaking face to face with my mentor’s colleagues about what the team as a whole needs and expect from me. Once I have my story, I will need to complete background research in order to gain some context, acquiring a list of sources for comments as I go. I may even need to visit a few different locations around the city to speak to different individuals, take photos for my article, and enhance my understanding of the story as a whole. After that, I will need to acquire comments from multiple sources, either over email, phone, or an in-person interview, in order to gain the perspectives of individuals on all sides of the subject. When I have all the information I require, I will actually write the article, combining, synthesizing, and refining my own knowledge of the subject and the comments of my sources in order to form a cohesive story. Then, once the article is complete, I will need to complete the fact-checking and editing process in order to ensure that my information is reliable and accurate. This is most likely the step in the process where I will need to consult several different editors at D, taking and applying their corrections and/or suggestions. Proofreading is the next step, spell-checking and adjusting grammar so that every aspect of my article is correct. Finally, once the story is virtually flawless, I will present the final product to Ms. Parks in order to have it actually published on D’s website.
I will need to spend little to no money on materials for my final product, as mine is strictly a display of my skills in digital form. Most of the work will be done on my laptop; I need it to actually write the body of my article, correspond via email with sources, my mentor, and other collaborators on my article, do background research, upload original pictures to accompany the story, fact-check, and proofread. I will also need my iPhone on which to record face-to-face interviews with sources, search social media for further insight on my story, and communicate with my mentor. Other than these, I may or may not need a digital camera to take pictures to accompany the story (I do not know if I will be assigned a photographer employed at D to take the pictures, or if I will even be required to have pictures at all), but these three tools are the only materials I will require to bring my product to life. Luckily, they cost nothing, as I currently have all of them in my possession.
Utilization of Higher Level Thinking Skills
In the culmination of my product, I will be applying a variety of higher level thinking skills. I will need to think creatively in every aspect of writing my article, from finding sources and coming up with questions to ask them, to finding good angles from which to take pictures to accompany the story. Actually composing the body of my article is a task of creation within itself. Additionally, I will need to problem solve if multiple sources deny me a comment by seeking out new ones elsewhere. I need to think critically and implement evaluation throughout the entire process, being my own worst critic when it comes to editing, fact-checking, and proofreading. Furthermore, I need to analyze all of the bits and pieces of information I will acquire through background research and interviews and synthesize it into one cohesive story that flows together.
I anticipate the outcome of my product to be an informative and entertaining report of a local event, organization, or individual to the people of Dallas, Texas. I think I will learn many incredibly valuable skills that will aid me in achieving a professional journalism career one day, as well as get me the one thing that puts a young hopeful journalist above any other candidate; publication. My product will apply to the real world by actually being published in the real world; the people of Dallas will be able to consult it as a source for information, news, and entertainment. It will be utilized to inform the population of Dallas of happenings in their community, and it will benefit the city as a whole by potentially bringing people together over the story described in my article.