Reporting Survival Guide
By: Maddie Goerl
Reporting is a rite of passage for all public relations majors. With tight deadlines and time sensitive stories, the course is designed to keep students on their toes.
I remember my class buzzing with nervous whispers on the first day. My tablemates and I quietly discussed our limited knowledge of the course. Failed interviews, sleepless nights and the Kroll F (misspelling a name) were the main topics of conversation. Little did we know, Reporting would give us great writing skills and even better friendships.
After a semester of interviews and editor meetings, I ended Reporting on top with a 98%. I worked hard for my grade, but I believe anyone can pass Reporting with flying colors with these tips.
Most of all, I recommend choosing beats that you are passionate about. Beats are the different topics that student media covers. Mine was health and fitness, but there are dozens to choose from. If you don’t care about the story you are writing, it will show in the final product. The easiest stories to write are the ones you’d like to read.
I also recommend doing your research. Explore the stories already on KentWired and avoid writing a story that was recently covered. Push yourself to explore new topics and current events.
Make sure to use your resources! Depending on your beat, peer reviewed articles, journals and public records can supplement your primary research. Your AP Stylebook will be your best friend. Refer back to it often to avoid silly mistakes. If all else fails, reach out to some Reporting veterans for support. Many of the current PRSSA officers have completed the course and would be more than happy to offer advice.
When you inevitably lose a point (or a few) on a story, keep track! Make a checklist of your commonly made mistakes so they don’t happen again.
I think the key to Reporting is going in with the right mindset. This class gives students the opportunity to gain published writing for your portfolio. Treat this experience as a growing opportunity, a place to develop your personal style and voice. Go into this course with this mindset: you don’t have to take this course, you get to take this course.
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