What is the most important thing to learn?
Danny Sanchez needs your help. The author of the Journalistopia blog will be addressing freshmen journalism students at the University of Florida this Friday and asks the question:
What are the top three things a freshman journalism student should do or know to be a competitive job candidate three years from now?I haven't commented on his blog yet because I am having a problem narrowing it down to just three. I'm like the guy who frees the genie from the lamp and is granted three wishes. At least one of them is going to be to ask for three additional wishes.
Help him out if you can.
I decided to turn the question around and ask my newspaper students what are the three most important things they feel they have learned in my program. Hey, I'm working on department-level learning outcomes and it seemed like a good idea. Some of my students are taking their first-ever journalism class and some have been around for three or four years --yeah, we're a two-year institution, but that's another story. Moses did not come down off the mountain with "Thou shalt finish community college in two years" carved in stone.
To alleviate the fears of the newer students, I broke them into groups of four and asked for consensus on the most important three, but encouraged them to write extra ideas in the margins if they wanted. I also asked them to list some things they don't feel they've learned well enough that they wish we could focus on more. Here are some of their answers:
Most important things they have learned
- How to present that which you are writing in an effective way.
How to interview and question people and know what kinds of questions to ask.
How to think objectively about the subject matter.
Know hat you can and cannot do. What are your rights?
Being true to your story (your job is to inform the people, to tell them the news!)
Be well-rounded (complete a variety of tasks around the newsroom)
You have to be informed, passionate and cynical. (they all misspelled cynical)
Presentation matters; it is important to be well-rounded in all types of formats.
You can't be afraid to ask another question.
Ask the right question; get beneath the cliched answers. (obviously one of my sports writers)
AP style, writing and copyediting
Communication is key
How to use a Mac computer and how to meet deadlines.
AP style and pyramid writing
To check facts for accuracy.
Hands-on experience is the best way to learn, one learns from mistakes.
Perhaps just as interesting was what the students want more training with. Note that some overlap with what some say they've learned.
Headline writing (repeated a number of times)
Offer friendly advice (am I too harsh?)
More power over my own story.
How to use the computer for the online edition; how to use it to fullest extent.
What are the right questions?
How to write a sprorts story (especially terminology and jargon)
How to edit videos and create podcasts
Politics of the business
Getting jobs after Cerritos
Learn more computer applications