Written By: Sarah Eskildon, APSU Communication Student
Welcome to your first experience with a communication course that is active and engaging, requiring you to get outside the classroom walls. News Reporting is a required course all communication students must take before entering into their specific concentration. The course is essential because you will develop important skills needed in each field of study.
The news reporting course is either a class you love or you hate, and if you are anything like me, you probably scored a low grade on your first assignment. Let’s face it, who is actually prepared to write like an experienced journalist on their first try?
Well the good news is, if you read your instructors comments and follow along in this blog, you will not only survive but grow to love the class.
As a senior in the communication department, I can verify the skills you learn in the course will carry you through the rest of your academic years both personally and professionally. Now let’s get started!
The Top Five Tips to A+ work
- Get comfortable with interviews. Trust me on this advice. You will fail if you do not provide sources in your articles, and to get the sources you must talk to people. Interviews can be intimidating at first. However, interviewing people allows you to cross path with individuals you thought you would never meet. Also, interviewing others sets you up for success when you are being interviewed for a future career. No matter what concentration you are studying, interviews are an important aspect in the communication field.
- Use your AP style book. Seriously, sleep with the book if you must. AP style is the language for news reporting. If you do not look up words in the book, you will receive a low grade. To this day I even look up every word I am unsure about in the style book before submitting my articles. Another good thing worth investing in is a grammar book, especially if you’re are a journalist. The world needs good writers and in order to sharpen your skills, you must do the mundane tasks of looking up the correct style.
- Engage in the news. You were required to purchase a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, so you might as well read the articles. A professor once told me, read anything and everything because the more you read the more knowledgeable you become in distinguishing between good and bad writing. When you read a boring text book, take that as a learning experience on how not to write. Engaging in news is also important because you become aware of what is happening locally, nationally, and globally.
- Sharpen your analytical skills. Great journalists question everything and provide a variety of different sources. When researching your topic truly investigate the subject, generate questions that ask why and how. Do not be afraid to dig up information people are trying to hide. Analytical skills are important not only in the journalism profession; employers look for people who exhibit exceptional problem solving leadership.
- Be creative. Think outside the box for your assignments. If you wait to the last minute to do your assignments, you will gain nothing from the class. Be proactive and get going on researching your topic and contacting your sources. Pick topics you want to know more about or topics that relate to your passion.
Most people only get the chance to take a news reporting class once, so make the most out of the course. Always remember, you will continue to implement these skills for the rest of your profession.