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Talking It Over -- Journalism careers

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Hancock English Teacher Nicole Schmidt. She asked me if I would be willing to speak to her Senior English Class about the field of journalism. Specifically what is involved in writing articles and such for the newspaper.

I readily agreed and spent one class period talking to the students about my job. They were very good listeners and had a lot of great questions. As a result of the class each student was given an assignment to interview, photogragh and write an article about a specific subject. I agreed to then run those articles in the Hancock paper which I am starting this week.

I have been very impressed with the results. These students did a great job in their interviews and questions, and snapped some wonderful pictures. They could easily continue to pursue a job in journalism with a little more training.

As I read through the articles I recalled some of my training, which I have to admit at the time was limited, and how a lot of it came through observation, study and trial and error. When something worked I learned from it, when not I didn't try it again. I read as much as I could to gain insight into how other journalists approached things and picked up on some of their writing techniques. I also attended a lot of classes, seminars, conventions and lately webnars to learn as much as I can about the field.

It is important to continue to introduce journalism to our young adults. It is far from a dying field since we will always need, in some manner, to report the news. Keeping people informed is the primary goal of a journalist. Therefore I am so pleased to see this focus on the industry at the high school level.

When I was in high school we published a school newspaper every few months. I worked on the newspaper staff and really enjoyed the job. At the time I never considered it as my future profession but once I was out in the work force I was happy to have had even that small amount of experience. Meeting a deadline didn't frighten me, conducting an interview was exciting, and sitting down to write the story was challenging and fun. After all if you could do it for your peers, you could do it for the public.

I want to thank Ms. Schmidt and the seniors for their contribution to this newspaper and I hope the public enjoys your articles as much as I did. We will be running them on the school page (page 5) over the next few weeks. Let the students know how you feel about their venture into journalism.