On April 3, 2014, I attend my first ever NABJ event with fellow college journalist from different areas in the country. It was the NABJ Illinois Midwest Journalism Summit 2014, located in Urbana, IL. It took place at the University of Illinois campus, home to over 40,000 students. The distance was roughly an hour or so away from downtown Chicago, and about three and half hours away from Milwaukee.
For this being my first event with other African-American student journalists, I didn’t know what to expect going into Day 1. That changed. The hospitality everyone received from the NABJ-UIUC chapter on the first night was so comforting. They greeted us all individually as soon as we walked through the door, and yes, it was definitely unexpected, but it made everyone feel like family (which we all are). After briefly hearing an informative speech from Herbert Lowe, we all proceed to eat and mingle with one another before the student panel took place next door. Unfortunately for me, my braces got in the way of things and I had to consume my pizza later.
I would love to go on about how amazing the summit was, but I will save that for another post. Written below are my ten favorite takeaways from the NABJ Midwest Journalism Summit 2014:
1. You’ve got to be a 10 tool journalist (social media, editing, shooting, etc.). This came from entertainment reporter Marcus Riley of NBC5 Chicago when he lectured on early Saturday afternoon. This applies to any journalist no matter what your field is.
2. When working as an entertainment reporter on the red carpet, have a money question. Marcus gave a cool example of this when he reported at the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Party. He asked celebs what they would name their horse if he/she were in the competition. The responses he received are hilarious.
3. Be accurate instead of being first, and make sure your stories are accurate. This came from Jonathan Hood of ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com. It’s one of the biggest problems I think many young sports journalists fail to realize. Some tend to just want to be the first on breaking something and ignore the steps on how to fully confirm news. Hood also mentioned to make sure that you have at least two sources in sports reporting.
4. Write everything down and keep a notebook. Amanda Porterfield of CBS WCIA 3 explained how when she’s out in the field, she talks with so many people that she brings a notebook to use as a reference for her stories. Use it to track and keep record of phone numbers along with helping with time management.
5. Anything that the government is involved in, it’s open to inspect. If you love investigative reporting, this might be something new to you. Senior political analyst Alden Loury explained this to us in the first session of the day. Loury also mentioned that property records are helpful for cases to help piece things together.
6. When doing investigative interviews, decide on the approach, prepare, and know your stuff. Loury suggested that you may also ask lighter questions to warm up your interviewee. Keep it real, too.
7. Leave color off of your resume. I personally know a lot of students who are told to have color on their resume. I don’t have a spec of color on mine and I like it that way. Herb Lowe gave a fantastic presentation on cover letters, resumes, social media and much more in the second-to-last session of the event.
8. In sports reporting, 80% of the job is listening. You can find out so much more when you actually listen. You don’t even have to think about this in regards to your job. Next time you’re out in public, listen to the things people say around you (don’t get nosey). It’s funny what people will actually tell you if you listen closely.
9. If you have a unique experience, share it. People can learn from your experience that you put out there. Never be afraid to talk about the things you have gone through. You never know who you might inspire someday.
10. When you have something in the present, connect it to the past. As an example, Jonathan Hood talked about the recent horrid slump of the Indiana Pacers in the NBA. He then mentioned how somebody can either write on other teams in the past few years who have slumped like Indiana, and how they fared in the playoffs right after.
11. 33% personal, 33% news, 33% information. This applies to the social media world.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.