Lessons from NASH81

In January, I attended the yearly student journalism conference NASH81. It was a ton of fun, especially meeting fellow journalists from across the country.

I did learn a lot about journalism and writing throughout the conference, and I wanted to share some of the tips I picked up.

So, without further ado, here are some of the things I learnt at NASH81!

  1. Align your humour writing with real news stories. And, with humour articles, make them short and be sure to save some jokes for the end.
  2. Headlines are key when sharing articles, so make sure they’re catchy and you can read the whole headline on various social media platforms.
  3. Write down observations about the people you interview. Whether it’s what’s in the background, the mannerisms of the person, or what the person’s wearing, the detail can add depth to your articles. You can also ask to take pictures of the background for later if need be!
  4. “How so?” is a great followup question during interviews.
  5.  With lifestyle reporting, ask yourself why the topic matters right now, and if you’re promoting products or providing information about them. Don’t be afraid to try out different angles like social justice, politics, and business as well.
  6. Prepare yourself when going into difficult stories, such as doing articles on the fentanyl crisis. Trauma in journalism is real, and we tend to forget how much of an impact stories can have on journalists as well.
  7. Know the difference between storytelling and story taking. A journalist’s job is to amplify voices, not speak for them.
  8. If you’re going to report on indigenous communities or indigenous stories, Duncan McCue’s guide for reporting on indigenous stories is a good starting point.
  9. When reporting on alt-right communities or other radical communities, try to avoid using their terminology. It allows the word or terms to become mainstream and give them more of a platform to spread their messages.
  10. We should strive for objectivity in journalism; however, our own views and biases will sometimes show up unintentionally. Keep this in mind when choosing who you interview, how you frame issues, and more.

I hope that these tips are helpful, since they’ve helped improve my writing recently.

If you have any tips for writers or journalists that you’d like to share, please drop them in the comments!

-Mel.

 

Day 27: A Lesson You’ve Learned

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned this last year is actively going out of my comfort zone. I’ve always been a more introverted and cautious person, and this year I’ve really been trying to push myself to do new things and meet new people.

Ironically, pushing my boundaries started with two spur of the moment decisions. When I applied to the campus newspaper, I did it on a whim since I was having fun writing this blog. Similarly, I joined the executive of the history society since I was asked randomly by a friend and one of my old professors if I wanted the job. Both decisions pushed me out of my comfort zone with having to recruit people for the society and writing new stories on topics I wasn’t as familiar with. But I wouldn’t change a thing, since I made some great friends and learned a lot about myself along the way.

With school as well, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with a few of the classes I took this year. It made me realize that I don’t find sociology interesting, and that I never want to become a lawyer. At the same time, I realized that I’m most interested in my classes when I’m able to study security or conflict issues, which has made me consider studying those topics more.

Overall, continuously pushing my limits has been a good lesson to learn this year. I’m sure I’ll continue doing a little bit more outside my comfort zone this next year, and I can’t wait to see what good things come out of that.

What lesson have you learned recently? Drop me a comment!

-Mel.

Day 6: Something You’re Proud Of

There are so many things I’ve been proud of recently, but I’m only going to list a few of them here today.

First, I’m proud that I managed to survive my first year writing for the newspaper and on the executive of the history society at my university. There were quite a few late nights and a few frustrating moments, but it was all worth it. I made some friends, wrote great articles, and got kudos from multiple faculty members, which makes me believe that doing both jobs was a good choice.

I’m also proud of the fact that I pushed myself to pursue all the job interview offers that I was given in the last two months. I even made a trip to Halifax just for a three-hour interview, which still seems slightly surreal. I did end up with a summer job that will be beneficial to my future career, but I’m still glad I made myself do all the other interviews, since they taught me a lot.

I’m proud that I’ve finished my third year of university as well. This past year has really shown me what I like studying and what I really want to do as a career, since I’ve been taking mainly history and political science courses. And, now there’s only one year between me and my degree, which is a fantastic feeling.

Lastly, I’m proud of how much I’ve grown as an adult the last while. All the signing of sublets, cooking, and answering emails that I’ve done the last few months have made me realize that I’m actually capable of making my own life. I know I still have tons to learn, but it’s nice to know that I’ve come leaps and bounds from when I first moved out to Banff.

What’s something that you guys have done lately that has made you feel proud of yourselves? Drop me a comment down below so I can give you a virtual high five!

-Mel.