Katherine Reed, the professor for our reporting lecture and the public safety editor at the Missourian, posted on her blog today about storytelling (read her post). She writes, “Can you find it [story] in that haze of ‘sources’ and research and anxiety about the writing, and getting it right, making that deadline?”
I lost story this week. I wrote two introductions to two of the women’s volleyball teams I cover for my beat, and I was so dedicated to writing SOMETHING that I felt like I was writing nothing. I wanted to spread the news about a couple tournaments this weekend, but I was focusing more on providing information from the teams than on providing information for the public. The public may have been better served with just two schedules, rather than two mediocre stories. Next time I’ll go into the story-writing with a better angle. — Tiger Invitational to launch Missouri volleyball season — Columbia College volleyball will have to mesh early in season
In other news…
…two of my roommates are in the journalism program, and we often talk about theories and ethical issues discussed in our classes. Sometimes it’s exhausting, and we just need to take a break (and go for a walk and have an intense conversation about religion, which is not necessarily more restful for our brains!). Yesterday I talked with one roommate about racism and cause and effect fallacies and long-term aid versus journalism and whether or not a journalist is declaring a bias simply by choosing stories to cover (we believe he or she is, in fact, making a value judgement about the story). I already over think everything (right, Mr. Sports?). Maybe grad school is my chance to put all that over-thinking to good use.
…I like that we do accuracy checks at the Missourian, but I also like black and white, and in sports things are grey. For example, I can’t call up a volleyball player to check her quotes; I don’t have that access to my sources. So I’m learning to be creative and record the conversation and check my notes while I’m still talking to her. Also, I’m figuring out how to cite press releases and media information. Although I never lift text from a release, I’m too quick to take a fact and assume it’s common knowledge, rather than citing it in my story. I’m normally overly cautious about fact-checking and citing, so I just need to make sure I’m ALWAYS citing releases!