For one week each year, members of the Marquette University and Milwaukee communities file into the auditorium to sit in awe. Marquette's Mission Week is a celebration of the university's Catholic, Jesuit identity. Loweclass will be live tweeting the events, as well as creating vignettes about people involved in the program. Readers will be able to experience the speeches live on Twitter and read about other Mission Week stories. The event welcomes to campus world leaders in economic and social justice to share their experiences. Before the coverage can begin though, we had to learn about writing vignettes.
The inspiration for this assignment comes from "ATL24," a CNN series of vignettes about the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The vignettes tell stories from the world's busiest airport, including an injured woman with nowhere else to stay, a baggage carousel cleaner and a ramp agent.
The story of Sgt. Vito Wallace watching over Mi Ja Choi is a striking example of using one story to tell a larger narrative. Wallace sees that Mi is injured, but does not disturb her because he knows that the airport is a safe place to stay. This allows the writer to cover the bigger story about airport security who must decide whether to kick out people staying in the airport for shelter. While staying in the airport is illegal, Wallace points out that it is a safe place for victims to stay.
Avoiding homelessness was the motivation for William Talton to take a job at the airport. His morning shift of cleaning the carousels reveals the strain under-paid employees are subjected to. Talton refused to be homeless, so he took the cleaning position out of "desperation." This vignette gets deep into the livelihood that Talton's carries with him at work each morning.
For ramp agents, packing luggage into a plane is a real-life game of "Tetris." That is how Scott Lotti describes his job for Southwest Airlines. Lotti, and other ramp agents, must endure the elements to make sure the luggage is loaded. It is a dangerous job. Two of Lotti's co-workers have been killed on the job.
The vignettes highlighted above are intriguing in that they go beyond the typical narrative of an airport. They are not merely about flight delays, high ticket prices or runway conditions. Rather, they showcase the people whose livelihoods are altered by those flight delays, the person who has to charge high ticket prices or the crew that makes decisions about the runway conditions. The vignettes reveal the human side of the airport. This will be the goal in covering Mission Week, to show the other side of Marquette's annual celebration.
The city of Milwaukee has a notable impact on us as students at Marquette University. It shapes the topics we discuss, the food we eat and the way we complain about winter. Students would like to believe that it works the other way, too, that they have an impact on Milwaukee. It is a lofty goal, but during the next 14 weeks, loweclass will be covering a group that is doing just that.
Professor Herbert Lowe's class is pairing with the Trinity Fellows Program of Marquette. The program is 15-years old and accepts up to 10 new graduate students per year. These students participate in a 21-month work/study program where they are paired with a Milwaukee nonprofit. Undergraduate journalism students in Lowe's class will profile current members and alumni of the Trinity Fellows Program to create a collaborative piece of digital journalism.
This is not the first time loweclass has done a project like this. Last semester, students covered Marquette's Education Opportunity Program. In a similar fashion, the upcoming work on the Trinity Fellows Program will include elements of digital journalism, such as pictures, video, audio and embedded tweets.
On Monday, our class met with Carole Ferrara, director of the Trinity Fellows Program. She said she is excited about the opportunity to showcase such an impactful program. When asked about the meaning she finds in her job, Ferrara explained that it provides her with a tangible way to make a difference.
"This job is very personally rewarding," Ferrara said. "I'm able to make a contribution to the greater good by doing this."
Hearing the passion in Ferrara's voice and seeing her eyes light up as she discussed the program makes me excited. This project is an excellent opportunity to bring greater coverage to a program that is building future leaders in economic and social justice. The way the Trinity Fellows Program shapes students aligns with Marquette's pillars of leadership and service. Our class's upcoming project will tell the story of that mission. Stay tuned.
Analyzing speeches by the validity of its statistics is one type of journalism.
After a major event like President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, viewpoints and analysis swirl around the Internet. This page curated reactions in one place. The articles included are from various news and visual data sites. The assignment was a lesson in the modern style of news curating.
For the speech, viewers could tune in on TV, radio and online to hear Obama propose legislation for his final two years. Reactions to the speech began almost immediately on Twitter. In the days that followed, news organizations analyzed the speech from middle class economics to subjects not included.
As an assignment for #loweclass, our class was asked to create a single page that compiled reactions to the State of the Union from around the Internet. The project highlighted a new style of journalism that compiles links and allows readers to click through and read various viewpoints on their own. It also revealed the digital focus of modern reporting. From Twitter maps to "by the numbers" reports, journalism is no longer a straight news story.
The Baltimore Sun's article about the reaction to Larry Hogan's election as Maryland's governor offered a good template. The process to create my own version involved scouring the Internet for a variety of news sources to find differing reactions. Google News helped in creating lists of articles. In order to get different viewpoints, the final piece includes a mix of news sources so that the final piece was not skewed liberal or conservative. It was also important to include data-driven journalism, since this is a current trend in reporting.
The diversity of arguments about the speech was surprising. Different writers focused their articles on strikingly different parts of Obama's speech. One reporter even covered Russia's reaction. The style of curating news and creating one compilation page is a style I hope to include in future posts because it offers readers more than a single viewpoint and can be an important foundation for increasing news literacy.
Click here to read the compiled page of reactions to the address.
Less is more. This was a guiding statement in updating my résumé. The old version was crammed with as much work experience as I could fit in the disproportionate margins. I was trying to impress employers.
The new version keeps it simple. I started with a blank document, not a template, so that I could build it exactly how I wanted. I narrowed my work history and skills down to those that are most relevant for journalism positions. It may sound backward, but this gave me the freedom to show more depth in my work. A guide on résumé building from the University of Maryland stated that it is best to “be specific and honest,” which I show in the experience section. While I may not have an extensive background in a newsroom, I sought to show what I do well, instead of trying to show everything that I have done.
Keywords were crucial for this. Before I began crafting the summaries for previous positions, I created a list of keywords that I thought described the work I want to do. Such keywords are ones recruiters look for. Then, I compared my list of keywords to my previous work experience to see how I am already using many of the skills needed for journalism. In my final draft, I was sure to include words such as research, edit, monitor and analyze, as well as write, because they target what I want to do as a human rights journalist.
Before posting my résumé online, I had several friends scan it with a critical eye. This was a suggestion from the American Journalism Review and it helped me better define unclear parts. I am happy with how I was able to better present who I am as a journalist by getting more in-depth with my work experience.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about my résumé. You can reach me through email or connect with me on LinkedIn.
My LinkedIn profile had long been forgotten by the time I got to college. I created it on a whim sometime in high school and had not done little with it since. After being grilled about the importance of having a LinkedIn presence by countless speakers in college, I made occasional updates to my work experience and personal statement. With a hopeful heart and the flawed thinking that by having a LinkedIn account, hiring managers would be busting down my door, I let it sit.
Having a LinkedIn account is not a magic bullet for getting a job. Even having a well-designed account is not enough. Professor Herb Lowe tasked #loweclass with updating our career-search materials, including our résumés, cover letters and LinkedIn accounts. In doing so, I referenced several articles about how to use the professional social media platform to attract hiring managers and show your personality.
These articles shaped the changes I made to my account. The basic information was there, such as my work history and responsibilities, but I realized that my account lacked depth. It showed what I have done, not who I am. My revisions were aimed to change that.
The first change was crafting a more personal summary as a prologue to the work history. I adapted my mission statement from my online portfolio because I believe it serves as the best explanation of who I am and why I am doing it. This new summary statement serves to explain the "why" of my résumé, such as why I am interested in journalism or why I am drawn to issues of human rights. However, this is still not enough to advance my career.
LinkedIn does not favor passive accounts. The benefits it offers by connecting professionals and sharing valuable industry insights are only available if users take an active approach to contributing and seeking out connections. Mashable outlined what students should post on LinkedIn and I will use this as a guide. After updating my page, I sought out groups and companies as well. I am now following Human Rights Watch, the United States Agency for International Development and Amnesty International. I am also a member of the human rights resources and digital journalism groups, which offer important industry conversations. These profile updates and online communities will allow me to use LinkedIn to its full potential and move me closer to my career aspirations.
Here is my welcome to the blogging world. Currently a junior at Marquette University in Milwaukee, I am still not entirely comfortable with the big city. I was raised on a farm in Southwest Wisconsin near a town of 288 people. My majors are writing-intensive English and advertising.
Milwaukee was my first direct experience with poverty. This came with working at several community meal programs and being scarred with the reality faced by my neighbors. This experience called me to be an advocate for social justice. I am now a co-leader of Midnight Run, a student-led service organization that mobilizes over 150 Marquette students to engage with the community.
From an early age, I have always had an interest in reading and writing. It started with drawing comic books and reading every Captain Underpants book and it has driven me to pursue a career as a journalist.
I did not always have this career path. In the fall 2014, the news of James Foley’s death opened my eyes to the possibility of journalism. The story of his tireless pursuit of truth rested on my heart as I struggled to understand how to combine my passions for writing and social justice. Then, in November, I was blessed to be part of the Marquette delegation to El Salvador to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the six Jesuit martyrs and two laywomen who were killed in the country’s civil war. That trip brought me face-to-face with the brutal outcome of misreporting reality. During the civil war, the world did not know the truth and a destructive regime remained in power. This experience brought with it the realization of who I am meant to be.
I wear a $2.50 ring because of El Salvador. It is a simple silver band, but it reminds me of my mission to report truth. It connected the seemingly random events that had been preparing me to be a human rights journalist.
Finishing my junior year at Marquette, I continue to work with Midnight Run, as well as being a reporting intern for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and a web writing intern for Marquette’s Office of Marketing and Communication. I love baseball, do not mind dancing and am a self-diagnosed health nut.
A chance to see the world from the perspective of a 6-foot-2, aspiring human rights journalist. Will include lessons learned and reflections.