Throughout my first year at university, I have been given the chance to use the methods and theories taught to me to further develop my abilities. I have had many opportunities to practice various type of journalistic work including hard news, comment and reviews. From doing so, it has allowed me to create an understanding of the skills that are required to reach the standard I aim for. By reflecting on my work, I have been able to evaluate the mistakes made and establish what needs to be done to improve and therefore put into further practice.
Writing hard news stories this semester has allowed me to challenge myself and put the skills I have so far learned into use. I now understand the importance of how information should be structured and prioritised. By working on my use of the inverted pyramid, I have increased my awareness, especially when planning and writing an introduction. Phil Race’s Ripple model of wanting to learn, put it into practice, make sense of what you have learned and then give feedback, is perhaps an example of how I have so far learned when writing stories. I feel that I have noticed problems in my work that will be crucial in helping me develop my skills for future tasks. In my recent article ‘Popcorn Time: Piracy App a “Nightmare Scenario” for Film Industry,’ I feel that I have managed to cover the basics of the who, what, when, where, why and how strategy. However, it may have been possible to improve the clarity of this while keeping it to a short length. “In many ways, feedback is perhaps the most important factor underpinning successful learning” (Race: 2010). I feel that by sharing my work with others and receiving this feedback on my writing, it helps make sense of what I need to improve on and fulfils the need to better my work.
By writing my comment piece ‘Zoo’s Killing Thousands of Animals Each Year,’ I have been able to experiment more by bringing hard news, opinion and interviews together. In this piece I feel that the change between reporting on the facts and starting to include comment was too clear cut. Next time I should work on blending the two types so that in return, the story will read better. By conducting my interview through social media, I now know that due to the limited interaction you have with the respondent, it is important to ask questions in detail so you can get a better idea of their true reactions. With this exercise, it is clear that I have followed the Kolb’s learning cycle. Kolb citied by Zuber-Skerritt (2013) said that learning is, “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” I have gained experiences, reflected on them, understood mistakes made and will now go on to try out what I have learned. Clearly, writing a comment piece has been a rewarding challenge as I have gained valuable knowledge and understanding of what I think needs to be done to raise the standard of my future work.
Another, piece of journalistic work that I have written this semester, is a music review on the release of American Authors album ‘Oh, What a Life.’ I enjoy this type of writing as it gives me the opportunity to write on something that I am interested in while sharing my personal opinion. However, since I am new to this, there are many changes and improvements that need to be made. I feel that I have not been able to cover all of the points I wanted to in such few words. Therefore, finding and developing a style that allows me to do this is an aspect I need to work on. Furthermore, if reviewing is something I would like to focus more on, then attending events related to the area will help me gain the appropriate knowledge and experiences. “Dewey understood that it was the careful selection of experiences, linked with commitment to reflect upon these experiences that form the basis for the acquisition of new knowledge and learning” (Hunt: 2000). Therefore, for me to succeed, I feel that I need to experience and experiment with my learning, which will give me the opportunities to understand my mistakes and which will lead me to build upon my skills. I hope that by trial and error, I will be able to develop my writing style.
In the last few months I have been given the chance to broaden my writing ability by practicing and experimenting with styles that are new to me. By writing hard news stories I have gained knowledge on what it means to correctly structure a news story using the methods that I have been taught. Understanding what I have to work on and receiving feedback, has encouraged me to improve. In addition to this, the experience of writing a comment piece has allowed me to reflect on my work and evaluate my mistakes. The challenge of review writing has led me to find something that is enjoyable. I know that to improve the standard of my work I need to experiment and practice this particular style. Overall, the hands on method used throughout the modules studied so far, have definitely given me an opportunity to reflect upon my skills and in return develop them further.