Saturday, September 29, 2012

Defender Article Writing 101

Hey everyone!

It's been a while since my last post, these past few weeks have been ridiculously busy and stressful (in a good way)! This past week, I've been putting a lot of time into writing my first Defender article! For those who don't know, The Defender is the student newspaper here at St. Mike's. Journalism majors and professors are involved in writing and producing the weekly paper, which takes a lot of time and dedication! (YAY MJD MAJORS!!)

This was probably one of the best experiences, relating to journalism, that I've had so far in college. Last Thursday, I was given a story pitch from one of The Defender's student editors, and then the process began.

So, for anyone interested in journalism, or any students that are preparing to write their own article for The Defender, here are my steps to writing an article for The Defender:

Get your story pitch. Last week on Thursday, I walked over to Bergeron to get "assigned" a story idea from The Defender's student editors (senior/junior journalism majors). This is probably the easiest part of the process, as long as it's a good story idea.

#2 Email/call/stalk the suggested sources. aka, get ahold of them as soon as possible and schedule in-person interviews if they are able to. Suggested sources are always listed on the story pitch, and they will be essential in getting information to write the article.

#3 Figure out which direction you want the story to take and formulate questions for your sources accordingly. Writing down a list of questions beforehand will make the interview much easier (thinking of questions off the top of your head can be difficult, and you might forget to ask something that is essential in developing the article).

#4 Interview your sources! Make sure to use a voice recorder, if they are ok with it, to ensure that you don't misquote anyone when writing the article (I use the voice memos app on my iPhone). Also, take notes on what they say/the surroundings/their actions and characteristics.

#5 Once all of the interviews are done, pull out the most important pieces of each interview and organize them on a Word document. I also write down the times in the voice recording where a quotable statement was said so I can easily listen to it again. Organizing the interview information will allow for the article to be more easily pieced together, and it will also provide a sense of what direction to head in regards to the lead (the main point/most essential element of the article).

#6 Coffee coffee coffee. Writing the article takes quite a bit of time. Stay awake! For me, this means a ridiculous amount of hazelnut iced coffee.

#7 Write! Set yourself up in a place where you are most focused. Read through your notes while you write, quote accurately, and organize the article clearly. After the interviews, all of the information will be right there in front of you, so this step is just piecing it all together!

#8 EDIT! Mistakes in simple things such as grammar & spelling are just embarrassing, so make sure to read it over a few times. Also, editing will allow for any necessary reorganizing. For me, I cut & pasted many paragraphs into a different order which allowed for the article to flow better, and it was easier to understand because of that.

#9 Meet with your editor. At this point, it was a week later from receiving the story pitch. I met with my editor in Bergeron to talk about any other edits that he thought should be made. For me, edits really only consisted of a few AP style changes to be made. So, make sure to keep your AP stylebook in hand at all times!

#10 Email your final article draft (with changes) to your editor! Then, wait for The Defender to be published in the beginning of the following week :) My article will be in this upcoming week's paper!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Campus Pics

Hey all!

Just wanted to post a few pics of campus that I took while doing a photojournalism assignment- enjoy!

Side of one of the building on North Campus

old church on North Campus

Side of Ryan Hall

Walking to Founders

Front of academic buildings facing the road

Detour through the 300's field while construction is going on!

& a big thank you to my wonderful friend Clare for modeling in some of these pics :)