My final product, writing an article featuring natural beauty products from local Dallas vendors, has been teaching me many lessons about my field of study. I have discovered for myself that the beginning stages of writing an article are far more tedious, slow-moving and difficult than the actual composition of the article is. A journalist must narrow down literally an entire world full of possibilities for story ideas down to one particular one. They then must do background research on it to gain context and understanding, then search and contact sources surrounding that article. I am currently finishing up this beginning stage, preparing to contact sources. In addition, I have learned how big of a deal fact-checking is in the journalism world. If one tiny fact (it does not even have to be a proper noun, like a name or birthplace of an individual) is not entirely true, the publisher could take a lot of heat over it. In writing my article, I will make sure to pay especially close attention to detail when describing a product and its creator so that I portray them to the public in an appropriate manner.
I have also learned about myself as a writer through this process. I already knew that I like to be as thorough as possible, but I am now discovering the implications of this detail orientation and dedication to perfection. It is a positive in the sense that I know that I am putting my best work out there, but it is also negative in that it is causing me to fall behind schedule. In the future, I will have to work on my timing and completing my best work in a shorter period of time.
I am making progress on my product more slowly than I anticipated on my calendar; however, this is normal. In writing an article, the prerequisite work is always the hardest and longest part. Once I have a set story to pursue, all of my sources, and quotes from them, I can easily compile them into one cohesive article within a matter of days. In order to fix my legging behind, I plan on securing and contacting sources for my article this week (the week of 3/27) to ensure ample time to acquire quotes and comments. There is still much work to do; once I have my quotes, I must write the body of the article, then proofread and fact-check it. I am pleased with how the article is shaping up so far; I have found five companies that make and sell local and natural beauty products in Dallas. They are all interesting individuals with relatable and inspiring stories of creativity and innovation; I believe that their testimonies will enhance my article and make it colorful.
My mentor has been a vital player in the completion of my final product; she has been involved in every step of its development. She first heard my story pitches and helped me decide on one, then she taught me step by step the processes and characteristics of fact-checking and writing in AP style. Were it not for her, my article would be formatted entirely incorrectly, and it would most likely not be published. Speaking of which- my mentor is the sole reason that I even have a chance at getting published. Even if it does not happen for me with this specific article, at least I have the experience of writing an article in a format acceptable for publication; it is the experience that counts.