Every journalism course presents me with its challenges and has its strengths and weaknesses. As a third-year student, I have definitely endured the hardest and most challenging journalism course this semester.
Multimedia Journalism is a course every first-year and second-year journalism student dreads hearing about from an upperclassmen, not because of the professor, but because of the challenging nature of the course.
While the course certainly presented difficulties and obstacles, it was also rewarding. Some of the early challenges of the course included working on articles with a new partner each week, writing stories every week with a Sunday afternoon deadline and exploring various beats I have never imagined I would cover.
With each Monday being publishing day, partners worked effortlessly throughout the week to pitch stories, collect interviews from sources and work with each other to produce different multimedia elements to compliment the writing.
To accomplish our goal of publishing articles each week, I learned two important lessons it is worthwhile for a journalist to note: 1) always be thinking of story ideas and 2) have multiple back-up plans.
I found it helpful to constantly have story ideas in the back of my mind because of the short turn around time for each article. With only two days between when the articles were due to when we pitched stories to the class, each of us had to think one week ahead. Sometimes, I would be working on two story ideas — one for the current week and one for the week ahead. It was always easier to have next week’s story ideas ahead of time so you can reach out to sources early on and make good timing for the next article. Multimedia Journalism showed me how a journalist should be thinking.
For me, Multimedia Journalism taught me the importance of having back-up plans, no matter what week it is or what story you were pursuing. In certain weeks throughout the semester, my partner and I found ourselves stuck with a slowly progressing story because sources would not respond until the day before deadline or there would be no opportunities for capturing video or taking photos for our multimedia element. In circumstances such as these, it was best to pursue multiple stories simultaneously. There were weeks when I had to work on two stories at once in order to see which one best panned out before deadline. Another time, my partner and I had to pursue story idea number six because the other five did not work out the way we would have liked. As a journalist, you never know when stories are going to fall through or provide you with obstacles you had not foreseen; thus, always, always, always have a back-up plan. The more story ideas, the better.
As I sit here on my last day of Multimedia Journalism, I can see how rewarding the course has been in improving my skills as a journalist and allowing me to produce content across all platforms. As a result of the course, I have become a stronger journalist who has the ability to produce content with audio, video and data elements. I have had the opportunity to explore beats I had never imagined covering, like sports. And most importantly, Multimedia Journalism has taught me what it means to be a true journalist, and to that, I am grateful for the experience I have had in this course.
Our final project was created as a class. We produced various content on the local food economy in Ithaca. These stories are published on our website, FoodiEconomy.