By: Lexi Deagen
Having an affinity for helping others can be rare. It seems as though looking out for oneself is the popular trend. However, one University of Georgia student does not feel that way.
“Things that aren’t going to help people progress and get to a better place in their lives are not worth doing. I need to help people,” Lindsey Harris, a 21-year-old journalism major, said.
Harris plans to write for a career to help shed a positive light on the world. She describes herself as compassionate and empathetic person who wants to use her writing style to help other people. She wants to tell people’s stories to help them connect with others.
“I love the emotional connection that can be formed between people. I’m big on feelings,” Harris said. “I think words can help you see how universal human struggles are.”
Harris is not yet sure where she wants to work in the future, but she knows what she wants to accomplish. She is not looking for her own success, but for a success of connection between people. If someone is having a bad day, she wants her writing to put a smile on their face.
“I want my stories to inspire people that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that there’s always hope, that truth will prevail and that there’s compassion,” Harris said. “And I want to show the light in the darkness.”
It’s hard to imagine that everything that happens has already happened before, every story has already been told , although, I suppose it is true for journalism.
Good stories are made through good practices: preparation, grammar, spelling and reviewing. While covering different types of events, it is important to keep in mind the other people doing so as well. If many people are getting the story – like in a press conference – then the journalist must ensure they have the correct quotes and verbiage.
Finding deep stories seems daunting, and certainly not as simple as “open your mind’s eye.” However, deep stories can be found anywhere when you ask “why?” This can be asked to any person, place, idea or thing, especially people. Everyone’s story is different.
Reading chapter 7 just brought me back to basics and reminded me what is involved to become a great journalistic writer. However, one thing that stood out to me was the topic of beat reporting. I had no idea what this was until i read this chapter and I feel like it is very important to understand now.
Beat reporting (specialized reporting) provides an in-depth analysis on a specific issue or topic. In order to become a very professional beat reporter, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the topic you will be covering. In order to do this effectively, you will need to make connections and communicate with others in the business. You could also do in-depth research on the topic and talk to friends in the field that you have communicated with. I am looking forward to using beat reporting in my future journalistic writings.
In Knights chapter he talks about being honest and not straying away from the facts. Don’t be a fake news website and report on something that isn’t true. Gather all the facts and evidence before you think to write it. Knight expresses, to stay on the “journalistic ethics” path because getting the facts right is the only way to be accurate.
In Filaks chapter he talks about critical thinking being the main focus in structuring a story. Gathering the information is only half the job in writing and you must assess the information in the other half to make it matter more. For example, stories can use quotes and facts, but that doesn’t do much to help the readers understand the value of what you have written. Quotes shouldn’t be the main reason for asking a question but instead they should be a byproduct of good questions meant to help the journalist understand the subject’s view on a topic.
In conclusion, Knight and Filak tell us to gather and write true stories but structure it and tell it how you would like it to stick out for the audience reading.
From my understanding of Knight’s principles in this chapter are what makes a good writer. To be a good writer and catch the admiration and attention of the public. It takes effort and not laziness. To think clearly and gather every bit of detail that you can on a story. This way you are not trying to oversell a story that is not necessarily backed up with facts. Instead of generalizing an idea to the point that your readers cannot even piece it together can get you fired as a writer.
Be specific in your details and do not leave anything to the imagination of your readers. Understanding what they want and need to read rather than what they have to imagine. As a journalists you have to be willing to dive deeper into a story. Meaning, go further into investigating so your readers do not. Give them the information. Do not restrict them from what is rightfully theirs.
These sections focus on a few essentially things all journalist need to keep in mind when writing. The first of these major ideas is being correct. This is in both in the right of reporting the truth and staying politically correct. This is not hard to do with just a little prep and attention to detail but so few want to sped the time to check. Others prefer to stretch the truth to get more views and its killing all of journalisms credibility.
Thee next important topic is critical thinking. Critical thinking is a basic skill all people should have in any field of work. It allows you to adapt quickly and solve problems on the fly. This is especially important in journalism as we have to be able to cover and adapt to things as they happen. Making decisions based on what happens is just part of the job and critical thinking is just part of that.
Reading Filak’s work, i find it very helpful when he talked about Learning How To Think. My favorite part is when he says, “learning material is not the same as think, let alone engaging in critical thinking.” I agree with what he says there because i feel as if it’s something we can all learn off of. Learning something and thinking something are two very different concepts.
Thinking open-mindedly is also something a journalist needs to do. It’s important to keep your views open to what the person has to say/tell you. Being open minded will also open doors for more questions you may think of on the go as a reporter and lead you to a more juicy story.
Not letting your ego get in the way goes hand in hand with being open minded in my mind. Not allowing your ego to be in the way of what story you need to cover is important. Your ego can impact your attitude towards a person you’re interviewing or also not allow you to think open mindedly about a topic you are discussing as a journalist.
Writing a good story can be a daunting task when taking into consideration the amount of work that goes into the process as well as when making an attempt to think critically when information comes at you like a speeding bullet, however this can be remedied by writing down everything heard on the spot without omissions. By doing this the information is 100 percent accurate and allows the reader to believe the facts right in front of them when the story is read. Being clear and not treating the reader like a moron who knows nothing of a subject is a good start however the use of highly technical jargon shouldn’t be used. Embellishing should also be avoided to reduce confusion and help add to a writers own credibility.
Writers should have a “passion for accuracy” as said by Knight and should strive to bring the news to the public in an honest manner with the same sentiments being mirrored by Filak. Keeping the facts straight can be tough in the modern era with misinformation being widespread however the source of information should always be known when reporting to keep this accuracy. By informing the reader correctly they can form their own thoughts and ideas on a topic while not having to pick through politically charged articles. This encourages readers to further research after the news has been read to inform themselves even more.
FIlak and Knight hold the integrity of the news writer highly and their advice should be followed by writers daily.