Archive for the ‘UMW Bullet’ Category

Two More Bullet Articles In the Works (And One Editorial)

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

For my Newsgathering class, I am working with a group of my classmates on computer abuse at UMW.  Five people are involved for this, so it will hopefully be well-written and well-researched, which is always fulfilling.

It’s been interesting to be the group leader.  For one thing, I still don’t view myself as having a leader-like personality.  On the other hand, I certainly don’t tolerate being under poor management, myself.  Yet I find myself in these positions more and more frequently.  But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’d rather be a leader than a follower, due to simple obstinance, so I might as well get used to it.

The other article I’m working on is an individual pursuit.  Our own Dr. Claudia Emerson is being inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and I offered to take the job of writing about it.  Getting interviews done under such time constraints is terribly difficult (I accepted the lead on Tuesday, and I have classes, homework, and work, mind you).

What on earth is driving me to take on these extra tasks?  Well, getting my name in print is a rush every time, of course, but more heady is the sense of power I feel through journalism.  I’m allowed to ask pressing and pertinent questions to people in positions of power.  When I publish a piece, readers know they can trust me to have gotten the facts.  Trust is an amazing thing to have in this day of skepticism and cynics.

So, be on the lookout for more from me in the newspaper, I hope!

The Bullet Article: “Professors Embrace Social Media in Class”

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The UMW Bullet published some writing of mine!  It’s an article entitled, “Professors Embrace Social Media in Class”.

Here’s a teaser:

It’s not every day that students are encouraged to use websites like Facebook and Twitter in class, but there’s a new department at UMW that’s trying to change that.

“Learning is a social endeavor,” said Andy Rush, new media specialist in UMW’s Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies (DTLT).

This philosophy is one of the underlying principles of new media, a discipline that is storming the pillars of traditional lecture-listen-regurgitate methods that dominate pedagogy and forging new ones that place more emphasis on the communal aspects of education.

Read it, and comment!  This is the second time ever that my words have been printed.  The first time hardly counts, however; it was a really bad bit for my high school newspaper.

It’s worthwhile to discuss how I went about writing this, if only for posterity.

Journalism is a foreign language to me.  When I signed up for Newsgathering this semester, it was only because the course fulfilled a requirement, and furthermore, only because the other course that also fulfilled that requirement wasn’t offered this semester.  You can imagine the surprise I still feel at playing the journalist these past two weeks, and then having my article printed!

Reviewing the Interview Notes

Going into this project, I was a complete newbie at interviewing.  I didn’t know what key words to look for in someone’s responses that would give me that feeling of, “Oh, this is going to be a good quote.”  I’m sure that reporters develop a sense of this to the extent that the choices they make in what to take down as exactly and what to gloss over as narrative becomes unconscious.  Until I learn the talent, I have to take down just about everything.  Actually, by the third interview, I got a tingly feeling when my source said something particularly quote-worthy.

I originally thought I would be able to jot my notes on paper, but see above paragraph about being a novice.  I ended up using my computer because I type faster than I write and could use a bullet system to organize questions and answers.

The second hurdle was deciding what questions to ask.  Really, this ties into the biggest issue, which was figuring out where I wanted to go with this article.  I knew that I wanted to write about DTLT and New Media, but what did I want to say?  Luckily, my editor gave me some direction, and the article became what you read now.  However, I wish that I’d had a better idea of it before I went to interview.  It would have helped shape my questions.

The last obstacle was style.  I was unsure what The Bullet’s publication preferences were, but thankfully, I had an understanding editor who was gentle in correcting me.

Overall, this was a fantastic experience, which I hope to repeat.