Research, Research, Research

Being an Honors student, I have had my thesis hanging over me since I started college. Now that I’m actually getting into it, I realize I do a lot more research than I gave myself credit for. All journalists actually do a lot of research. I suppose I just never noticed it because it’s not the same as scholarly research.

Scholarly research seems way more in depth and long term. Journalistic research is all about putting the information out there as soon as you find it before it has a chance to change.

Growing up in school, I was never really a fan of having to do any sort of research. Remind me again why I chose this major?

But in all seriousness, research is a very important part of being a journalist. If we ever have to report on facts or demographics, we need to know where they come from so readers don’t think we are making things up. Any sort of fact or figure or opinion given is a product of some research to find the original source of it, and least in straight news writing. I guess opinions can just be the author’s in more of the feature than news stories.

I’ve always heard how you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet because of how easy it is to put false information there. Why am I still hearing about it in college? I guess it’s because a part of me will still believe something on the Internet as long as there is no evidence to counter it. But anyway, journalists do still have to remember this too. Anyone using the Google search bar needs to remember this.

It just sucks to think that I’m really going to have to power through and look for things on the Internet just to get a good story idea. Usually they just come to me so far, but I guess things will be different in the real world.

Looks like I need to learn to love the research. It’s not like it’s going away any time soon.


Be Not Just a Writer, But a Salesperson As Well

No one likes rejection. I feel like that is just a basic human instinct. The thing we want most is to be accepted. We may not feel the need to be accepted by everyone we ever come across, but we do want to be accepted by our peers and the people we look up to. I, like anyone else, have a fear of rejection. Someone remind me again why I decided to be a journalist.

If this reading taught me anything, it was that journalists need a tough skin, something I know I do not have. I thinking working for The Student Printz has spoiled me. I can pitch a story idea to my editor, and within a timely matter I know if I should pursue the story or not. As I write the story, I am almost certain that it is going to be published. I know that I am doing this work for something. It seems as if freelance writers have to do the exact opposite. They seem to write a story in hopes that an editor will accept it to be published. You have to make sure while you are writing the story that you are thinking about what publications would even consider something like this. I would imagine sending the story you have worked so hard on to a publisher waiting for an acceptance or rejection, it would be like sending your only child to a boarding school you really don’t know too much about.

While rejection may be scary, while the idea of trying to make a story sound appealing to an editor that probably gets hundreds of pitches a month (at least) is daunting, that is part of the whole process. If this is something we want to do, rejection is just the biggest part of it. Eventually a story will be accepted, and even if it isn’t that just means we need to improve our writing in someway so the next story will be accepted. It will be challenging, it will be hurtful, but this is what we signed up for. At least we are learning this early on.