What I have learned writing for Seminole State College newspaper- The Scribe
Bitter sweet feeling I have right now, I do feel melancholic that I won’t write for The Scribe any more, after a year of doing so. I can only take with me what I have learned: how to report, write articles. I have polished my writing, I have find myself and I will also take memories of everything that took part in writing an article. When writing in the future I will recall all this, and if I struggle I will try to listen to the fading echo of the voice of Professor Ms. Sheppard orienting me on my stories to get them done. I will try to remember moments of when I was doing an article, so that when I struggle I can know what to do. I will prove that I have learned from writing for The Seminole Scribe, when there will be no one to mentor me. It is hard to get everything I have learned written down but as a journalist, my job is to generalize it, so here it is and trust me this is not even 1/10 of everything i have learned:-First decide what you are going to write about: Be honest, don’t be self-conscious, what are you passionate about? Done, you got the topic for your article. It is better to write about something you like than to write something you think it will be easy to write about. Because you will find yourself stuck writing about a subject you do not see an angle for, so it will be hard to develop, it will be hard to write without your personal interest in it. Still struggling? Go to Google, then search on images something you like, or something you are angry or passionate about. For example for me: I wrote an article about going Vegan because I saw pictures of the cruelty towards cows in the meat industry.
Your tools: camera, recorder and small notebook to write on and a laptop to type your final article.
Camera: Take pictures of everything you can, that you think it can go with your article. Take as many pictures as possible because you may end up using the one picture you thought the least you would use, sometimes you are not aware that you can’t use a picture. And trust me it happens, so if you don’t want to end up without an image to attract readers, get as many pictures as you can. Example: I took a picture for my article – ‘More than Banned books at the Library’, the picture was great, and it was a display of Halloween. The problem was, by the time the newspaper would go to print, it wouldn’t be Halloween anymore. Luckily I took a picture, of a Harry Potter book, and was able to use it. So just have extra things to use, even if you are confident you will be able to use what you have. Take pictures around campus of anything that calls your personal attention too. Engage campus life.
Recorder and reporter notepad: Funny story this one because I must say that this is the hardest part for me about journalism, using the recorder. Just rewinding the recorder, stopping word by word to get a quote right is time consuming. I won’t forget what I have learned about writing articles, use the two things (recorder and notepad) AT THE SAME TIME, Yea you got it right, Both!,
Recorders: are great when your interviewee is on a hurry or you are! And you just want to ask those questions right away, because if you write them down it will take you longer and won’t have time to ask all the questions you want. Having both: can assure you that you got a quote right. Even if you write it, there’s prove you have it, and can go back to it to get it right. You don’t have time to write everything down, so have your recorder on, and because you may also miss on important things your interviewee say. Sometimes the interviewee is saying something important, but you don’t realize it, because it can be hard to stay so focus, as a result you don’t write it, but you have your recorder. You get home and listen to your recorder, and you DISCOVER amazing quotes.
Writing down: what you wrote is important, as you interview make yourself notes. This will help you when writing your final draft of the article and just writing the article. Read your notes, out of your notes you can make an outline of the important things said. So a notebook is just as important, otherwise you will go home with a recorder, waiting for you to fall asleep on. Your notes will be a life savior when you can just make an outline out of them, notes are a great place to start looking at eveything you have to write an article.
Background information- Make yourself a favor and do background research before you interview somebody. Save you and your interviewee time, and do some homework before you start asking questions that you could get easier. Background information is more likely not to be in quotes. It is information that if you don’t know it will make an interview longer and tedious. Background information may include like the what, where, why, who, when, how, etc. They may be available on a website, It could be found on Seminole State College website, or by asking people around, you can find it.
Get to the real Job, Come up with good questions; expect good answers, Save days of work:
One of the most important things learned...the biggest job is been specific on questions, if you come up with good questions, you will spend less time writing an article. Ms. Sheppard taught me, that the reason why I was struggling is because I always exceeded on information, it comes hard to write if you have a long interview, without nothing important said. She taught me to ASK the right questions, use questions that you personally have, because other students may have the same questions and curiosities. Some interviewees just go on talking, so stop them, but for this, you must have questions, be prepared. Some good questions that can lead you to the right track: As a writer, why am I writing about this? What do I want to get across? Why do people care about my topic? What’s going on? What’s strange? What calls your attention the most? What are the solutions for the problem?-Just remember that every article that you make is different, there for they can all have DIFFERENT STRUCTURES. Have fun with it.
-I remember I had too much information, and this time most of it was useful information, so I didn’t know how to break down the story, so Ms. Sheppard, mentioned to me to break down my story in How and Why, and it became a piece of cake. That article is called “Changing Habits, Changes Grades: Success starts with you”. I was able to condense everything I had in two categories so creating categories for yourself will be the best way to condense information, as well as easy for readers to understand what you want to get across. My example of this article was broken down in: How to change your studying habits and why to change your studying habits. It will vary with each article; the structure of it can be something you can play with.
You need to interview students, professors, regular people, people affected by the problem, people involved on the matter. It is nonnegotiable not to have an expert on the area in your article. Sources can be people that you may not think have a potential answer for you, but they do. So just get as many quotes as possible. Also some quotes can be just paraphrased. Only quote things that drag special attention to readers.
Struggling: It is there any other topic I rather write about? If so, why not write about it instead? Am I passionate about what I’m writing? Why? If I disagree on something, why not write about that topic? Something intriguing on campus, why not cover it and start asking around what’s going on.
Write the paper: If you are struggling on writing, is because you are being self-conscious. You are a story teller, imagine a person you feel comfortable with (imagine your sister or brother?) Tell her/he what everything is about, assuming that the person you talking to know nothing about your story. So from beginning to an end, what happened? Summarize it, be quick, you can touch on details later on. Generalize as much as you can. Say what you can say in ten sentences in one sentence. Then you can break it down. If you are still struggling, find the most important thing about your article, the most important thing said, and from there you should be good to keep on writing.
Transitions: While the first semester I wrote for the paper I was more worried on learning how to get quotes, this semester I learned how to make transitions.As an editor I learned to make a lot of transitions, NOT transition words like – in addition; Instead use phrases that connect topics.
Opening the article with a lead, describing with your senses- what you see, smell, feel, and so on
· Then background information
· Make sure to include What, Where, When, Why, How
· Body: transition and quotes,
· End with a kicking quote that will leave people thinking
· Not everything can be a quote; some of it can be paraphrase it.
· If you spend time in your questions, you will expend less time writing the article (Probably most important thing learned, then it will be a matter of using transitions to have ready the article
· Having difficulties? Ask Ms. Sheppard. Example: She helped me break down my story of How and Why
· My Favorite moments:
# can’t help to crack up with a good laugh, when someone you are interviewing says something funny that you were not expecting.
# interviewing the astronauts one on one, they are so important yet so down to earth
# having access that media gets, that the general public doesn’t
# People look intimidating at first but they are really down to earth #I have discovered
# eating pizza with the colleagues of the Seminole Scribe
# realizing how much I have improved in my writing
# Finding my life purpose by writing for the Seminole scribe
# Defining that Journalism is the only career that puts my best qualities to use, creative: which I can use when breaking down stories and my ability to generalize and summarize
In general, thanks to writing for The Seminole Scribe and Ms. Sheppard, I’m sure I’m going to be a reporter and that that’s what I want. Within two semesters I feel like I’m capable of reporting for any famous Media company, because I was taught everything, now I just need to polish my skills and keep on learning.
In a nut shell: This was by far the most challenging thing I have put my mind through, yet the most fun of it all. This wasn’t about a grade it was about finding my life purpose: writing with a purpose.It is not over yet, you will hear from me, maybe not on The Seminole Scribe printed version, but ill post things that I left unsaid or didn’t have the time to post before. And I’ll be around, stay tuned, because when you are tuned life is sweeter ;)
Is not what your goal is or where are you going, is the JOURNEY THERE where you can find happiness.
Dont hesitate on contacting me on twitter
my plan is on going for Journalism at ucf while I make the best I best out of it.