Reflection: What I Know Now

Walk a mile in someone’s shoes, you will find things you would have never anticipated you’d find. The Journalism profession is nothing but a linear line and it is a lot more intricate, difficult and detail-oriented than just writing a story. The story is all you see, but the work behind the story is an exciting process that proves the complexity and essentiality of journalism in today’s society.

I have always enjoyed writing, I always considered it to be a hobby. I joined MIT 3664B about two days before the class would begin. I thought how hard can journalism be, I know how to write, I’d like to think I am an engaging writer and writing stories is fun, and oh boy was I in for a treat. A very sweet treat to say the least.

I learned a lot throughout this course and I also learned a lot about what I want to do with my future. At the start of the class, I thought I had an understanding of what journalists do, but now I understand the profession is more complicated than simply covering events. I never knew the amount of investigative work that went into journalism. I thought the information was handed to journalists to write stories. This is certainly not the case, their job is not just writing stories, journalists find the story, create the story and frame the story.

The series ‘We Are The Cops’ was a combination of journalism and investigation. The informative story is an amazing piece of work where all the facts are laid out in front of you. Behind the scenes is what people do not see such as the hardships that come along with being a journalist. I feel the guest lecture with Randy Richmond gave me tremendous insight into the details of being a journalist. Richmond talked about the exciting stories, the not so exciting stories, the worrying, hardships and everything that went into such a long investigation.

I struggled a bit at the beginning of the class. I always wrote my stories and perfected the grammar and made it interesting but my issue was I mistook details for being small when in reality no detail in journalism is small. After the Police Reporting assignment, I realized how important being precise with your words was. As journalists we become a source of information therefore we can not claim anything and one word can change the entire meaning of the story. Using the term “allegedly” saves journalists from lots of legal struggles. One word can cost a lot of consequences. Since the Police Reporting assignment, I saw my marks go up because I took more time to pay attention to every last detail and made every part of the assignment a big part of the assignment. When you are the source of information and you are holding people’s reputation in your hands, there are no little parts because the impact of journalism is tremendous, and the stories live on to become a symbol of our history and what life is like in the present day.

This course also made me realize how important it is to pay attention to the news. There were some really important questions present on the News Quizzes I did not know, that I felt I should. At the beginning of the term, COVID-19 was just a disease in China, I never knew the answers. Now I am seeing what I thought was so distant directly affect my life and my community. Always paying attention to the news is very important and I greatly appreciate that this course inspired me to take advantage of the resources I have that allow me to read the news.
After following the news more I found myself having more discussions, more opinions and in general being a bit more well rounded. For example, every day I watch Trudeau’s live talks regarding COVID-19 which is something I probably would not have done.

Towards the beginning of MIT 3664 we heavily on different versions of news stories and now I find myself researching topics more than ever. Before the class, I would read a headline and not think much of it, now I aim to know as much about a topic as possible. Following the helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant, we saw a video regarding the route and the issues the helicopter would have likely gotten into. it just shows that you need to go out looking for information than just reading the first headline that comes up in the news. I have always known this but this course inspired me to start practicing this investigative style research. The more information you have the better.
I found Hell’s Angel’s case to be especially interesting, specifically, the story of the person who was telling you they had information was himself a criminal. It gives you an unsettling feeling that you may interact with these types of people within this field. Journalists are in a tricky role to filter what is trustworthy and what is not. This is where attention to word choice and detail is important by not assuming all information is real. This also demonstrated the dangerous aspect of journalism, when unknown sources call for the information you have to be strategic in how you talk but also be careful as they might want to meet.

My goal was to get my work shown at the beginning of class and it was in our last class that it happened. I accomplished this by listening to every word Richmond said, and listening to his talk over and over again until I knew what I was going to write about and I felt confident my story would stand out. Journalists also must be very creative and make their stories stand out from the rest. There are many reports on large cases, there has to be a reason people choose your story to read or gravitate to your organization.
Following this class I feel more confident in choosing public relations as my aspiring goal, this is something I have been thinking about for a while and this class helped me be more confident with my choice. I believe Randy Richmond said that Public Relations was Journalism’s enemy, therefore, this may be a weird thing to say. Despite the two professions’ purpose being the opposite, they both strive to make compelling stories for the public. At my internship, I wrote various press releases, speeches, and scripts that were used in varying media outlets. I feel I have been able to strengthen my skills and techniques with the skills I have learned in this class.

I have been conscious of the way I consume media because of the program I am in. I am very skeptical about the types of outlets I consume from and I always keep an eye out for where the information is coming from. Which is especially important in a time where the internet gives everyone a platform to be conspiracists.

10/10 would recommend this class and I hope to take more courses with you in the future!

Student and inspiring writer