Lisa: Alright Nelson what kind of journalism skills do you have?
Nelson: I dunno, making nerds cry?
Lisa: Perfect, you'll be our TV critic.
The most important advice I can offer new reporters is this: Be open to the experience. It doesn’t matter if you're taking this class to fulfill a life long dream to be a journalist or if you're just here because it fit neatly into your schedule as an elective, you will be given the opportunity to improve your writing and learn something about yourself and the world of journalism. But you have to be open to it. You have to be willing to open your mind and your heart.
Be open to your editors' and Steve's suggestions. Take advantage of their experience. You may think the revision process is stupid and not worth your time, but if you're open you will find that it will make you a better writer for every bit of writing that you do.
Be open to asking for help. Horizons is filled with a wonderful staff who can point you in directions you never thought of. We work as a team, and we put out a very good product, and it’s good because of the reporters who help each other out and put so much effort into making it one of the best college papers out there.
I could list all the little tricks and tips I know for research and interviewing, but it would take a long time and I am not sure I could remember them all in time for you guys to read this, so I won't go through them now. But I will tell this, it all goes back to asking for help, everyone on staff can give you tips for every aspect of getting your stories together. I know I am willing to sit down with each and every one you if you just ask, and we're all available through e-mail, class time, and the discussion board. Even the online textbook is extremely helpful. So if you need help on a particular subject, be open to getting the help, and be brave, which leads me to my next point.
Be open to being brave. Interviews can be scary, research can be overwhelming, and writing for an audience can be terrifying. But you have to be brave and jump right into the process. Get it done early, get it done quickly, otherwise you'll obsess. Jumping in is the only way to get that confidence. Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview, take research one step at a time, and while you should keep your audience in mind, you should also be writing for yourself.
Finally, be open to having fun. Yes, this is school, but you're going to make friends here that you will want to keep for a long time. Plus, when you're open to learning and improving your writing, you're going to realize that having fun doing it is part of the process of making it really good. So, welcome to the team. Be open, be brave, learn, ask for help, and have fun.
I love being an editor. I love helping people write.
On a complete side note, everyone should listen to Emmylou Harris sing My Antonia with Dave Matthews.