One word about reporting

You’re almost there — you can see the finish line. And you’ve learned a lot about reporting.

You’ve learned how to talk to total strangers about subjects you knew nothing about 10 minutes before the interview. You’ve figured out how to organize your thoughts at the speed of light. Or, at least, you’re getting there.

And you’ve learned how to write concisely. But that’s the work of a lifetime.

So, now, sum it all up in one word, and a couple of simple, supporting sentences. What one word would you use to describe the experience of reporting? And what was the single most important thing you’ve learned in the past five weeks that you would like to pass on to the incoming crew? Maybe it was an experience you had. Maybe it was something someone said to you — an editor, a person you interviewed, someone who gave you feedback on one of your stories.

Post a comment below, or just start thinking. I’m going to ask you this question again in class tomorrow (this is a warm-up).

My word?


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7 Responses to One word about reporting

  1. jdogg1 says:

    The word I would choose would be exhilarating. This class is exciting, terrifying, and fun. While I am looking forward to having the rest of the summer to enjoy, I will miss being a real reporter.
    The advice I would give would be three-fold: First, don’t be afraid to volunteer for stories you know nothing about. Often those are more exciting and interesting than those you think you may know about. Second, be a sponge! What I mean by that is, observe every possible detail you can, write it down and then use those details to enrich your lede and your story as a whole. Lastly have fun!

  2. Laurien Rose says:


    For the past five weeks, I have been thrust into the real-time world of journalism. I feel like I am no longer a student but a journalist on the job. I have had to write life stories and cover events I knew very little about (the air show, the ACTS press conference…) I’ve compared my articles with those in the Tribune and on KMIZ, and even noticed and reported errors in their reporting. I have talked to so many amazing strangers and seen so much of Columbia that I would have never explored without this experience. It was amazing, fun, exhilarating and sometimes exhausting but I have loved every minute of it. And, honestly, I can’t wait to come back for advanced reporting.

  3. courtney says:

    I’d say this experience has been humbling. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all. I think talking with all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life is bound to put some perspective on your worldview. We live in a society where often the world revolves around “me, me, me.” As journalists, we get the opportunity to share the stories of others to help everyone understand each other a little better. If we want to be good at what we do, I think the focus has to shift from “me” to them.

    This is where my greatest lesson learned, and the advice I’d have to give, come in. Focus on the people you’re working with, not your insecurities. Recognize and accept you’re probably not going to be good at this journalism thing, at least not at first. When you have to go up to a stranger, smile and make your case as nicely but firmly as possible. Don’t take it personally when they say no. It doesn’t hurt (too much) to go up to people and introduce yourself even if you think they won’t talk.

    I know it’s kind of corny, but the ultimate lesson I learned is you just have to be yourself.

  4. My one word would be enlightening.

    It’s crazy how much I’ve learned in this class. The first day seems like forever ago. It’s been great getting to talk to so many people and learning their stories. I feel a lot more comfortable interviewing people and writing stories now. I’m also so much more familiar with Columbia than I was before this class. Determination is a necessity in this class.

    One of the most important things I’ve learned it to be as kind as you can to people, and at the same time be persistent. Also always try to be optimistic.

  5. Unexpected.

    Nothing about this class is what I thought (or dreaded) it would be. Coming in, I thought “I want to do magazine editing, what does reporting on breaking news have to do with me?” Everything. I learned so much about the craft of journalism in general, and have learned to love it.
    My advice to those just starting would be to take everything as it comes. Don’t expect anything specific, just go wherever the reporting takes you!

  6. juliasumpter says:


    Nothing about this experience has been mundane, repetitive or nonactive. The time has flown by because every single day has been different than the last, and your day can change course in a minute. One day you’re immersed in law and the next you’re learning how mandolins are made. It’s such a privilege to be able to learn so many different things.

  7. Consuming.

    I mentioned this word in class but wanted to elaborate a little more here. I mean consuming in the greatest sense of the word. This experience has been both time and mentally consuming. I come home from work everyday and am often brain dead and need to relax and not think. However, I think this feeling is awesome because it means I have been devoting time and effort towards my work. Having worked to find the right word or structure your story with an editor can be exhausting but it pays off. Overall, this course has been consuming in all aspects, and I’m happy about it.

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