Now that this course has come to an end, it’s time to think about the ways I have succeeded and the ways I have failed.
I can think of three stories that I believe to be my biggest successes.
First is the story about Tyronn Lue, the Mexico, Missouri native who coached the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship. The event itself was fun to cover, and before the event I was able to reach a nice variety of people who knew him. I’m very pleased with how the story turned out.
The life story about T. Gale Thompson was another success this summer. I’m proud of how the story came together. I feel like I was able to tell the story of his life in a congenial way. It may be odd, but I still occasionally think about Dr. Thompson. That shows how much thought I put into creating the story.
Finally, my story previewing the new Shakespeare’s restaurant was also a success in my eyes. Like the Tyronn Lue story, I had an opportunity to go to a place and then come back to the newsroom to take our readers to the event with my words. That is fun to do.
With all successes come failures, and I certainly had my share this summer. Two come to mind.
I really enjoy following politics. I find them endlessly interesting. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to cover the elections. It didn’t go as planned, but I’ll learn from it and move forward.
Ironically, the other story that I would consider somewhat of a failure is also a political story. A week after writing about the local residents who served as delegates at the Republican National Convention, I worked to create the same story about the DNC delegates. When I could only reach Bernie Sanders delegates, I knew that the story idea had to change. The frame of the story then shifted to follow the Sanders delegates’ experiences at a convention that they did not win.
These ‘failure’ stories taught me valuable lessons. Other lessons were learned both in lecture and by just listening to people in the newsroom. A lover of quotes, I often scribble down quotes as I hear them, even if it’s during a common conversation.
There were plenty of pieces of wisdom to take note of this year.
The first one, from Liz, seems simple, but it really isn’t if you think about it.
As you grow older you realize that nothing is black and white. There are really no hard and fast rules in this world. This semester I learned that this is especially true in journalism. Never say “never” or “always.” Instead, one must say, “It depends.”
And then there are the famous Schnellerisms.
“Journalism is the storytelling of meaning.”
“Journalists look for differences among similarities.”
Other Schnellerisms didn’t come in the form of exact quotes but more general thoughts.
Sometimes you need to interview the mountain.
And of course there’s the elaborate discussion about the ladder of abstractions. All words are abstractions.
It’s a cow. Well, what is a cow? It’s a heifer. It’s a bovine. It’s a milk cow. It’s a cow. It’s a agricultural unit. It’s a commodity. What is a cow?
Someone as nerdy as myself can spend a long period of time thinking about something like this.
In the end, I’m happy with how my summer in the newsroom went. I was given confidence that this is what I want to do in my life. I was also given confidence that I CAN do this for my life. Most importantly, however, I learned that I have so much more to learn and that I need to be so much better.
That’s what matters.