Going into my second semester at Kent State, I finally began taking courses relating to my major. I was so excited to dive into learning more about my career. My first big class, writing across platforms (WAP), changed my perspective on, not only public relations, but journalism as well. At first, I questioned why I even needed to take a journalism class, after all, I was a PR major! I was confused, thinking elements of journalism couldn't help me in the PR Field.
I was wrong.
Writing Across Platforms is a newswriting class, the first one in the PR sequence. This class pushed me out of my comfort zone, providing me with more out-of-class work than I was used to. I had to gather all the information for stories on my own. I felt annoying stopping students around campus to ask them a few questions about my topic or stressed when scheduling a time in-between class to meet with sources. I had to learn how to budget my time to get each assignment done. Though this class was hard work, it was clear to me by the end that it was necessary for me to have journalism skills to succeed in the PR program. If you follow my advice below, you will learn some amazing skills from this class.
1.Do ALL of the assignments
When I began WAP, I had no idea what AP style was. This change alone opened a whole new world for me. Each class we would practice stories, leads, AP style and sentence structure. By the end of the semester, I was not only able to write in AP style, but could confidently put together a story on my own. I knew the story structure like the back of my hand and took the professors advice when it was given. Do not slack on your stories, it will only make the upper level courses more difficult.
2.Take on stories you don’t know much about
At the beginning of the semester, I was nervous to try any story that I wasn’t either 100% comfortable with or somewhat knowledgeable on. I always went to ideas that included someone I knew personally to interview or that I had experienced first hand, like an event. After what seemed like my 100th interview, I finally got the hang of talking to people and other topics out of my comfort zone. This made the class much more invigorating and refreshing, constantly learning new things around campus. Looking back, I wish I would have done that from the start. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone!
3.Keep up with current events
Before taking this class, I never paid attention to the news. I used to avoid it actually, always thinking it was too negative. My professor required us to know weekly events, giving out a pop quiz every Wednesday. At first I found this task annoying, but the more routine it became the more I enjoyed it. I could join in on discussions with classmates and friends about topics I had never thought about before. I highly advise to keep up with current events, even when it isn’t for a class. You can learn so much about the world and educate yourself on current issues.
Writing Across Platforms is an amazing class that teaches you so many useful journalism skills. It is the foundation for learning proper newswriting, and is extremely useful for your upper level classes. Though it may seem like a lot of work and overwhelming at first, you need to do your best and push through it. Your hard work will show through your writing. Good Luck!
Hannah Wagner is a sophomore public relations major and is PRSSA Kent's editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.