Learning Fact-Checking and Deciding on a Final Product Idea

Mentor Visit Assessment 3 

Mentor: Staci Parks

Profession: Online Managing Editor

Location: D Magazine Office

Date: March 10, 2017

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Assessment:

            At my third visit with Ms. Parks, we reached a conclusion in the process of choosing a story idea to pursue in my final product article. At the meeting’s beginning, I pitched my ideas on both potential stories (one focusing on the detrimental effects technology has on our physical health, and one about how to fight disease with the food you eat). Comprised primarily of background research, my pitches gave a general idea of where I saw each story going, what information I could feature, and potential sources I could contact. After hearing my pitches, my mentor gave me some constructive feedback; she suggested that I try to find a way to “localize” each of my stories. She then elaborated by saying that every story that D Magazine publishes has some significance to the Dallas community, some impact on local groups or individuals. For example, she told me about a story that D ran about a year ago that focused on a local yoga studio that provided classes solely for relieving the stress and pressure that technology creates on human bodies; including this information is a way to make the story relevant to the local community.

After then discussing potential sources to interview for each story, we decided that I should go with the food story for my product, as 1) I would have an easier time finding sources to interview (local nutritionists, chefs, or even farmers), 2) it would be simpler to localize (I could maybe do a feature on the Dallas Farmer’s Market or a single vendor within my article) and 3) it is the one that I am most passionate about. Staci and I discussed potential directions in which I could take my article that would make it more likely to be published in D. For instance, she mentioned that she had been wanting to do an article for a long time that featured all natural beauty products available for sale in Dallas by local small business owners; if I interviewed Dallas Farmer’s Market vendors, I could potentially find out some information about this subject as well. We also discussed potentially writing a series of articles, the first of which could contain my original ideas, the second focused on beauty products, etc. We had lots of brainstorming discussions full of many creative and potentially feasible ideas, but I have decided to stick to just one article for the sake of time.

Additionally, Ms. Parks and I were able to sit down and thoroughly review the fact checking process. She gave me a long handout that every D intern receives (which thoroughly describes each step of the process and addresses a variety of scenarios one is likely to encounter when fact checking, and we went through every detail of every step. This was very beneficial to me, because it is a skill that I will employ in my final product as well as in all of my future journalism endeavors. After I learned how to fact check, I was able to begin comprising a list of potential sources for my article, which I will finish before our next visit.

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