I feel like I've spent my entire week in the Wakerly Technology Training Center editing my video for my multimedia project four Journalism 2100: Community Reporting. I had SOOOOOOO many problems with technology. I've spent about thirty total hours interviewing, re-interviewing (when the original footage became encrypted/deleted), importing, and editing. As happy as I am to FINALLY be done with this, I know it won't be long until the next multimedia assignment is doled out. I need to get better with this complicated software. I need to learn shortcuts. I need to buy this software for my own computer so I'm not constantly in the Wakerly. But at least I recognize my weaknesses and am willing to try again.
My journalism professor gave us this amazing in-class assignment today. He gave us only fifteen minutes to run around campus. We could go anywhere. We could talk to whoever we wanted to. After time was up, we had about forty-five minutes to write a feature story based on our findings.
When he first announced this assignment, my stomach sank. That type of thing is totally not me. But that's what I love about journalism. You're just thrown into it. I didn't really have a chance to worry about talking to strangers and looking like a fool because I only had fifteen minutes.
Most of my classmates remained in Johnston Hall, the building where our classroom's located. I decided to venture outside and enjoy what little time left I have in the sunshine. I decided to interview a ton of people by the bus stop at 12th and Wisconsin Ave. I think I got ten different interviews in. They were really brief. But it was still interesting to talk to them. Some were willing, some were reserved, some were rude, some were confused. I didn't want it to be an in-depth feature type of thing. I wanted to include as many people as the word count would allow; a real "all walks of life" type of piece that would accurately do justice to the people at a Milwaukee bus stop.
Here's what I came up with:
Bus stops are a place of transition. People come, people wait, people leave – most within a span of fifteen minutes. Never have I really seen the temporary residents conversing. It seems like everyone leaves without their story told.
After a long day serving food at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Janet was finally heading home. Her wrinkled face and weary expression contradicted her cheery scrubs, an explosion of floral pastels. While she usually works in catering, she served cafeteria food today because of the lack of catering events. BBQ Pork and broiled fish were on the menu. Janet was going.
Kara, accompanied by three children, were coming. The two boys, Perrion and Karon, were Kara’s sons while the younger girl, Kya, was her niece. As Kara lit a cigarette, the children bickered and fought outside the sheltered bench.
“Perrion!” Kara yelled with no concern to the people around her. “Get off your brother. I ain’t gonna tell you twice!”
Kara took her niece to the Brookfield Mall for her birthday. They went window shopping and shared a Cinnabon. Kya handed me her used bus ticket, perhaps the only souvenir she had to remember her trip by. The group was headed home with the lingering taste of cinnamon and cream cheese frosting on the minds.
Fifty-year old Iris was waiting for the 30 bus. She was on her way home after a full day’s work at the Bradley Center. She has worked there for 23 years setting up food events. Though it’s not the most glamorous job, she enjoys the Marquette basketball games in the winter.
“Marquette is a sellout crowd,” the Golden Eagles fan said.
While she’s required to wear a catering uniform, she shows her spirit by donning a Marquette head on her commutes.
Like Iris, Charlae was waiting. She was also headed home, not from a day of work, but a day of class. She is a freshman studying business administration at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
“I don’t really like the long commutes, but I need to be home to take care of my baby,” the young mother said about her one-year old, Davante.
Dynesha, another student headed home for the day was leaving. She is also a freshman, currently studying street law at the New School for Community Service.
“I wanna go to law school and become a street lawyer,” the twenty-year old mentioned. “I wanna help people like me.”
Dynesha didn’t explain what she meant by “people like me” but I could take a guess.
Confession: I used to be terrified of the bus stops I passed every day on Marquette’s campus. I thought they were dirty, were for people below me, were for people who would never rise up to become something great.
My fifteen minutes at the bus stop revealed to me what bus stops really are. Not a place of transition, but a place for transitionary people. A place for people to come, to wait, and to eventually leave.
I learned a lot of little tricks in this chapter for when I’m doing research on the Internet (which is required for almost every story I will write). Placing quotation marks around the words you want to find on a page will limit the search to the exact order the words are in. Placing the minus sign in front of a word will exclude it from a search. For example, if you are writing a story about the average ACT score of a student at a Jesuit school, but you don’t want information about Marquette, you could search “Average ACT score at Jesuit schools –Marquette). This tidbit applies to Google searches. For more advanced search engines, a different rule like writing NOT in front of it instead of a minus sign will do the trick. Another trick I learned is if you want to learn something exactly, try placing an asterisk in place of it. For example, if you wanted to quickly figure out what Obama’s middle name is, you could search Barack * Obama. Learning these little research tricks ensures your stories will be accurate but will also get put online or printed fastest.
Well, I made it through Trib Training Week!
This will be my first year as a full-time reporter for the Marquette Tribune. However, I am not like a news or sports reporter where I am expected to research and write for two articles per week (one for each issue).
I will be working on the projects desk as an investigative reporter. This is the smallest desk of the Trib, with just one editor and two reporters.
Instead of two short, 500 word articles per week, I will be expected to submit pieces that involve more research and interviews. My editor still hasn't determined how often I must produce this type of reporting.
I'm kind of nervous. This will be my first semester balancing two jobs and five classes. I certainly won't have as much time to just hang out in my room as I did my first semester freshman year (no jobs, six classes).
Anyway, onto how the actual week went....
The first day started off quite easy. A breakfast reception was followed by a small speech from the dean of the College of Communication, Lori Bergen. During her speech, Bergen mentioned how we are "pioneers" of the new student media format of convergence. All of the separate branches of student media (Trib, Marquette Journal, WMUR, and MUTV) will work independently, but also collaborate on large projects to produce multimedia packages. There are also "pool" reporters who will be called to work for any given branch when needed. This is the first year Marquette's student media will be running like this.
An exercise on Tuesday helped demonstrate how a story would (ideally) be covered utilizing all media branches.
We were given a hypothetical scenario (Dining halls eliminate hot cookie night for health reasons and budget cuts -gasp!) and then split into teams, each comprised of print people and TV/radio (read: tech savvy) people. Our task was to design a mutli-media package complete with a 1-minute clip and 500+ word article. We had to interview dining hall employees and managers, but also get student input. It was a good refresher exercise, but also a great way to start meeting people from the other branches. After all, we'll be working with them much more than last year.
The rest of the week felt like whirlwind of meetings and speakers. The news editor for the Racine Daily News stopped by and talked about enterprise projects. This was of great interest to me as mostly all I will be writing for the Trib will be articles of this type. We did a brainstorming exercise which was really beneficial in demonstrating how stories are created.
Another speaker we had was Marquette's head of communications, Andrew Brodzeller. When trying to get in contact with university officials (President Pilarz, a professor, the provost, etc.), we most likely will need to go through Brodzeller. He was very informative, going into detail on the process of contacting him.
Other than the exercises and speakers, it was mostly just a lot of meetings with our respective branches and desk editors. For the first issue (which came out today), the projects desk did a two-page spread on the demographics of the incoming freshman class. We also interviewed freshman from far away and asked them "Why Marquette?" I enjoyed hearing their stories; they all came here for very different reasons.
You can read the full print article here. The profiles have not been put up online yet, but I'll let you know when they do.
Overall, I'm nervous but excited for the coming year. I'm looking forward to working on many of the ideas we have on the projects budget!
As always, I read last week's issue of Time right away. But I forgot to blog about it until today when I just remembered. It's been lying on my nightstand for a couple of days now and I still find myself thinking about the cover story, "The Childfree Life."
For those of you who don't know me that well, I'm a little hesitant when it comes to the whole kids thing. My kid Pinterest board is named "For the children I never want to have." I guess I am just really pessimistic, but I just don't see how women can "have it all" meaning both a family and success in the workplace. Now, I'm not saying all mothers are on the bottom of the totem pole at their workplace because there are some women who really can juggle it all. But as a personal choice for me, I prioritize my work over children.
When some of my college friends and I were discussing this, many admitted that they'd choose raising a family over a job any day. I was absolutely flabbergasted and proceeded to ask them if they'd feel like their life was meaningless if all they did was raise children. They countered by asking me if I'd feel my life was completely meaningless if all I did was work hour after hour.
Lauren Sandler, author of the article, delved into the controversy between these two types of women.
Our culture equates womanhood with motherhood. Look at Sheryl Sandberg's book, Lean In. While the book focuses on encouraging women's professional development, a large chunk provides advice on balancing work and family, presuming that, like its author, ambitious women will have both. But that's the problem. Some women just don't want both.
With fertility treatment options more available now than ever, the ones who choose to not have children are judged even more for their choice.
"In the past we assumed it was out of a woman's control whether or not she had a child," said Amy Richards, author of Opting In: Having a Child Without Losing Yourself. "Now we think it's her choice, so we can blame her."
Sandler went on in the article to explain that women who simply refuse to have children are known as early adopters. These are girls who feel from a young age that they're not mother material. They often don't play house or with dolls. They also usually have an extra 15 IQ points, interestingly enough.
Another point Sandler addressed is the label these women are slapped with: the childless. Childless has a connotation that implies someone wants a child but lacks the ability. The early adopters usually prefer the term child free because they're not bogged down with the contingencies that come with children.
Child free numbers are steadily increasing. In 1976, only one in ten women were childless. In 2010, it was one in every five women.
If you have time, it's an interesting read no matter what side of the issue you agree with.
As for me, I'm still trying to determine if I'm an early adopter. I've never really seen myself as mother material. But I did play my fair share of dolls growing up....
My favorite article in this week's issue (cover story titled "After Trayvon") was titled "The Power of the Biligual Brain."
It's quite an interesting story. I like how the writer approached it both scientifically and socially. The lede talked about how Utah school districts are revolutionizing language immersion and interaction. There was a particularly cute anecdote where a teacher fondly recalls the first time a young student made a joke to her in another language. The article went on to explain how the program is state-funded and has been running since 2009. Such high demand for participation into the limited program has allowed expansion of the program.
The scientific effects of learning more than one language early on are tremendous. I started my second language, spanish, in eighth grade where it was too little, too late. Parents have about nine month before babies favor one language over the other. But if talked to in more than one language, the baby will learn both.
The children in the Utah program are older, but not by much. Starting in as early as first grade, half of the children's school day is taught in English, the other half in another language. Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Portuguese will encompass the program. 22 other states have stopped by to observe this program and have their eye on launching similar programs.
America is a monolingual country. But when you've got countries like Papa New Guinea with 850 languages, it's never too late to start.
Just like it's never too late for me and my Spanish, si?
I've been working on my stories for the local paper for a couple of weeks now, so I thought I'd write you all a quick update.
My first profile was published on the 3rd. It was exciting to see my work in a real publication, not just online or in a student newspaper (not dissing the Trib at all, but this is just different). I received a couple of texts from friends whose parents read the paper on a regular basis and noticed my byline. That was pretty cool.
I was pleased with how my first story turned out. My interviewee was very cooperative with both responses and photos.
I'm finishing up my first draft on my second profile and am headed into the office for a read through tomorrow. The body of this one has been much easier to write, but I'm struggling with determining what information to exclude. It all seems so vital to explaining his character.
My last profile has been much more of a struggle compared to the first two. I called her at least five times and left multiple messages. I finally got a hold of her and she tells me, "I really don't want to this." She explains how the state sort of forced her into retirement and she still doesn't know how she feels about it, but she doesn't want to turn it into a political thing. "I just want to go away quietly."
Isn't that horrible? That's the way she wants to be remembered. Some people say we only need hard news and none of that feature-y fluff. But I think this is the perfect example of why we need this type of journalism. To remember and honor someone's contributions.
I'm looking forward to hearing what my editor has to say about how I should proceed with this.
I've been reading Time magazine since eighth grade. That's when it became my dream to be published in Time magazine. I love getting my copy in the mail each week. The red border around the cover. The interview with someone interesting on the last page. Stein's witty self-deprecating column. The amazing photojournalism that accompanies every cover story. I love all of it.
And in last week's issue, I was a part of it.
It was quite simple. I follow @Time on Twitter and one tweet instructed followers to Instagram something that makes them happy using the hashtag #timehappiness. So I did. Of course, I instragrammed LG because nothing makes me happier.
A Time reporter named Kelly (if that's not a sign, I don't know what is) commented and the rest is history.
There may not be a byline, but still. Having this 1x1 image of my work in a national publication that is seen by thousands, possibly millions of people... well, I instagrammed my work with the same hashtag #timehappiness.
I thought nothing could make me happier than summer in LG. I was wrong.
Being published in Time magazine is my real #timehappinesss.
So, I've been out of school for about a month. I spent my first week of freedom in South Carolina with friends. This much-needed vacation was the perfect end to my freshman year. It's made me eager to get back on Marquette's campus and be on my own.
For now, I'm stuck at home working. Which I guess is okay. I really shouldn't be complaining that much. It's just so different than college. I think I'm having an extra difficult time because I have a new job. Instead of spending a sixth summer at the Pie Co, I am now a waitress at Scuttlebutt's. Although I've only been there for about three weeks, I've learned a lot about people. Those who tip 10% and and those who tip 20%. Those who are crabby and those who are understanding. I have so much more respect for waitresses now than ever before. I will never undertip a waitress again because I know the pressure they're being put under.
I didn't write this post just to tell you I'm in the waitressing business. I'm hoping that's only temporary. I also am excited to share with you that I stopped by the Lake Geneva Regional News yesterday to inquire about internship opportunities. I only chatted with the EIC, John Halverson, for a few brief moments, but I'm very excited about the possibility of spending my free time working there. Well, I don't think I'll have an office or anything. He made it sound like more of a freelance position. A sort of "you write it and if it's good, we'll publish it" sort of deal. But we'll see. I'm already dreaming up what stories I can bring to the table....
I submitted my "Slice of Life" essay (you can read it under my creative writing tab) to Marquette's Literary Review and found out it was chosen to be published! You can check it out at right here.