September means back to school. Except, this time, it is senior year. My last lap around Marquette University will be one filled with friends, old and new, and great conversations over coffee. It is an invitation to enjoy the moment.
Yet, this is not a excuse to let my journalistic endeavors take a back seat.
In fact, the next two semesters could be my last chance to soak up the resources and knowledge this learning environment has to offer. This semester, I will be working with Justin George of the Baltimore Sun through Marquette's O'Brien Fellowship, as well as writing about Milwaukee government as a Public Policy Forum Fellow with the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.
These positions, along with my own writing on Medium, are insurance that my writing will not catch a case of senioritis -- there is just too much to learn. Keeping that in mind, I crafted a short list of goals and skills to work on this year.
During my summer internship with CNN, I made friends with Asha Stuart, an amazing photographer and video journalist. Looking through her clips underlined the power of visual storytelling, an element I hope to include more of in my work. Pictures convey meaning in ways that words simply cannot.
The written word is by no means dead -- do not listen to the reporting pessimists. However, audiences are more perceptive to video and photography and the technology has never been more accessible. Literally, it fits in your pocket.
Last semester, I learned to use Videolicious to create a short videos and I am excited to explore other presentations of short-form video. For instance, does journalism have a place in Instagram videos? What about using Snapchat?
Speak Up, Listen Up
Yes, I am known in some circles as "Quiet Wyatt," but I can step beyond my introverted nature. One way to do so is through audio journalism. Podcasts are popular and I am a big fan of NPR One, the personalized audio news app.
Whether this goal means launching a podcast or creating NPR-style news bites, I am preparing by reading over this helpful guide for launching a podcast. If you have ideas for a news-related podcast, I would love to hear your ideas (see line in introduction about enjoying conversation over coffee).
Read, Read, Read
If there is one thing every journalism or writing professor has told me, it is this: If you want to be a good writer, read good writing.
That means reading high-quality journalism, not some days but every day.
My iPhone is pumped full of news apps and my morning routine includes time with some of my most-frequented publications -- The Washington Post, BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times and NPR. Taking the time to dive in to choices of style, interview and presentation is daunting, yet rewarding.
But Never Forget: It Is Still About The Writing
Despite these explorations, I cannot leave my bread and butter -- writing. Dr. Pamela Hill Nettleton is teaching the freelance writing course I am taking this semester. The class will learn from an experienced writer and editor about how to market our work as freelancers and how to craft a story worth reading.
I am looking forward to the challenges of the coming weeks and am excited to pursue the goals above. As readers, it is now your job to hold me accountable.
How about you? What are your goals for the new season? Let me know what you think with a comment below or contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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A chance to see the world from the perspective of a 6-foot-2, aspiring human rights journalist. Will include lessons learned and reflections.