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.
A chance to see the world from the perspective of a 6-foot-2, aspiring human rights journalist. Will include lessons learned and reflections.