Bojinka Bishop.

Associate ProIessor/Sloan ProIessor oI Public Rela-
tions. brings more than an educational background to Scripps`s public
relations courses. She worked Ior 20 years in
public relations and communications beIore
coming to Scripps to teach. Many oI her iobs
and proiects were in the environmental arena. in
addition to business and non-proft.
One oI her most interesting iobs. Bishop
recalls. was serving as the director oI public
aIIairs Ior the American Water Works Associa-
tion. 'the largest national trade association Ior
both public water suppliers that are Ior-proft
corporations and also municipalities which have
water supply systems.¨ she said.
During her time in that position. she served as
the national spokesperson Ior a maior crisis in
Milwaukee during which hundreds oI thousands
oI people became ill and 100 died because oI a
water problem.
'It was important. not only what we said about the issue. but what we
did about protecting the public.¨ said Bishop. who was quoted in USA
Todav and other publications throughout her career at AWWA.
She also directed a national campaign in the
US called the Blue Thumb campaign. which was
adopted in Canada. Australia and Poland and
recruited students to complete water conserva-
tion and protection advocacy work.
'It really became a movement ... That was
really a very special and unique and wonderIul
aspect oI what I believe public relations can
be.¨ Bishop said. 'Understanding the tremen-
dous infuence and power that people in public
relations can have... It`s not only an honor. but
it`s a responsibility to do it ethically and to do it
with some realization that you wield tremendous
Her experience turns up in the classroom in a variety oI
ways. Bishop added.
'I understand the work world and the challenges oI it and the need
to be creative and
responsive and
have a good sense
oI iudgment.¨ she
said. 'I believe
|my background|
helps me in terms
oI teaching students
how to do public
Inside Inc.
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Page 3: Scripps Shoutout
Page 4: Internship Info
Page 5-6: Professional News
Page 7: From the Editor
A publication of the Ohio University
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&'()(**+&,*-./!(% +$"&
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relations. and how to do it well.¨
For Anne Cooper-Chen. ProIessor. some oI the greatest lessons in
iournalism can only be learned abroad.
Since the 1980s. Cooper-Chen has taught
iournalism in Tunisia. China. Germany. Malaysia.
Hong Kong and Japan.
'II anyone ever asks me iI they should go
overseas. I say to go Ior it.¨ Cooper-Chen said.
'You`re the most Iree right aIter you graduate
Irom college. so that`s a great time to go some-
where. I urge students to go overseas; it will
change your liIe.¨
In addition to her work abroad. Cooper-Chen
has served in several notable positions closer to
home. She has worked Ior newspapers. maga-
zines. iournals and a book publishing company.
Her time at the publishing company served as a
tool to reinIorce the necessity oI good writing and
grammar. she said.
Each proiect she worked on at the publishing company required a large
time commitment. Cooper-Chen added. 'I liked the polishing aspect oI
publishing.¨ she said.
Her time working Ior newspapers led to several
interesting opportunities as well. she said. She
described covering a food in Pennsylvania an
assignment which included interviewing victims
oI the tragedy as one oI her most memorable
experiences. She also had the chance to interview
Billy Graham Ior a story.
Her experience in the iournalism feld. in addi-
tion to reinIorcing the value oI studying abroad.
gave Cooper-Chen a unique piece oI advice to oI-
Ier students. She encourages them to build on past
experiences but also to keep seeking new ones.
'The thing you`re doing now is always most
prominent.¨ she said. 'Always have something on
your plate.¨
Aimee Edmondson. Assistant ProIessor. spent a dozen years in
Iamily newspapers covering various topics beIore coming to OU. These
include The Commercial Appeal in Tennessee and The Augusta Chronicle
in Georgia. She covered topics such as social services. education. science.
medicine and Ieatures.
'I think it`s really key to have had that experience.¨ she said. 'I can
use my in-the-trenches experience. iI you will. to bring examples to my
One oI her best experiences during her times as a reporter. Edmond-
son said. was the chance to cover Hurricane Katrina. She went to New
Orleans with a group oI iournalists and worked out oI a tent Ior several
Today, 5 p.m.
State of the Union Debate
ln part two of a two-part series, seven journalism professors talk about their work before Scripps.
Bojinka Bishop
Anne Cooper-Chen
weeks. living on canned Iood she had brought along and reporting frst-
hand on the conditions in New Orleans.
'There was a big diIIerence between
watching New Orleans burn and drown on
television and being the one who actually
went down there and reported that.¨ she said.
'There`s a lot oI power to being on the Iront
row. telling everybody else what was happen-
Her time in the feld also helps with one-
on-one mentoring and advising. Edmondson
said. She works with students who have
questions about resumes and cover letters.
explaining what potential employers seek.
'I can tell them. This is how you get ready
Ior the iob market. and this is how you pres-
ent yourselI.`¨ she said. 'I hope I can make
iournalism come to liIe Ior students by telling
them what it`s really like out there and helping them Iocus on
what really matters.¨
Edmondson hopes to encourage iournalism students to continue
pursuing their goals. despite uncertainty caused by today`s economy.
'As the media reinvents itselI. the iobs are go-
ing to be there.¨ she said. 'II |iournalists| believe
in what they do. iI they`re really good and they
work really hard. they`ll fnd a good iob.¨
AIter working in public relations and Iree-
lance writing. Ellen Gerl. Assistant ProIessor.
discovered the power oI a byline a discovery
she works to share with students today.
Working Ior magazines. Gerl has covered
topics varying Irom travel and Iood to business.
She also worked Ior a trade association in Athens
writing and editing trade books. She enioys the
variety this work has provided.
'One week I might be writing about Iood; one
week I might be taking a bicycle tour and getting
to write about that Ior a travel section oI a magazine.¨ she said.
'I loved being able to be curious about all kinds oI diIIerent things
that`s a nice thing about magazine writing.¨
Today. however. Gerl encourages students to avoid becoming stuck
in one area.
'I no longer think oI people as iust magazine
types.¨ she said. 'Today`s iournalism students are
going to have to learn a variety oI skills.¨
One pleasure that always remains in iournalism
is seeing a byline when an issue comes out. Gerl
'It`s always exciting. no matter how much
you`ve written. to see your byline come out in a
magazine.¨ she said. One oI her Iavorite stories
was a Iood essay she wrote about her grandmoth-
er`s homemade donuts; she recalls the Ieeling oI
accomplishment she received aIter writing it.
'I remember thinking. Wow. I love mv iob.¨
Marilyn Greenwald. ProIessor. has served as
a copy editor and reporter at several daily papers
throughout Ohio. Her extensive experience working with edi-
tors or as an editor gave her a mindset that she carries into the
classroom each day.
'I tell the students I try to grade their papers as an editor would.¨ she
said. 'I try to look at them the way an editor would look at them since I
worked with editors Ior ten years.¨
One oI the memories she still carries Irom that time is oI a story
about school oIfcials who were planning to quietly close more than a
dozen schools in Columbus.
'They were trying to keep it a secret. and somebody slipped me the
tip.¨ she said. 'It was iust a huge. huge story. I beat the competition.
and everyone was talking about it. That`s a story I really remember.¨
Although the iournalism world has changed since she was active in the
feld. Greenwald said. her past experience and con-
nections allow her to continue to mentor students
'|The feld| has changed a lot.¨ she said.
'but I still have an idea oI what it`s like and the
atmosphere and culture. so that helps me mentor
Having experience in the feld is important in
teaching. Greenwald concluded. because true learn-
ing in iournalism goes beyond what can be learned
Irom books.
Mary T. Rogus. Associate ProIessor. worked Ior
20 years in local television news beIore deciding to
switch to teaching. She advanced in the television
feld Irom a 'one-man band reporter¨ reporting.
shooting and editing all oI her stories to executive
producer status.
Her most signifcant encounter with iournalism. though. occurred aIter
she leIt the feld and entered into education. Watching the television
coverage oI the events oI September 11 during her second year as a
proIessor was extremely powerIul. she said.
'It was really a strange experience to be in
the middle oI this huge breaking news story as a
viewer.¨ Rogus said. 'I was struck so strongly by
how important television news was during that time
and how well the iournalists did. I was never prouder
to be a broadcast iournalist than in the moment when
I wasn`t actually in the thick oI it.¨
Although teaching in iournalism is more than
sharing war stories. Rogus said. her background does
provide an important basis Ior her classes.
'Over the past 20 years. there`s pretty much no iob
in the newsroom that I haven`t done at least once.¨
she said. 'When I teach students. it`s coming Irom
my experience.¨
As she applies her proIessional background to her Scripps tute-
lage. Rogus hopes to arm students with the practical advice they need to
enter the feld.
'I`m still very passionate about iournalism.¨ she said. 'From hav-
ing done it and knowing the pressures. stresses and challenges they`re
going to Iace. I can help arm students to Iace those
challenges and help them with solutions to those
Cheri Russo. Instructor. graduated Irom Ohio
University in the `90s with a broadcast iournal-
ism degree. She went on to work as an anchor.
reporter and producer at several television stations.
She currently serves as the managing editor oI the
newsroom at WOUB.
She believes that having real-world experience in
iournalism is the key to understanding the diIIer-
ence between what is taught in iournalism class-
rooms and what students discover once they enter
the workplace.
'|Students| learn everything in class that is what.
ideally. we would all love iournalism to be.¨ she said. 'Then they
go out and have an internship and are like. Wait a minute. you told
me this in class. but this is not what they`re doing.` I try to apply ideals
learned in class to the real world.¨
Russo also has Iound she has been able to provide advice to students
about the business side oI iournalism. When students have questions
about contracts and other similar issues that arise when they`re looking
Ior a iob. she can oIIer practical counsel.
'I`ve had a lot oI students. as they leave. call me and ask me questions
about the business side oI becoming a TV reporter. because they know
I`ve been there and been through it.¨ she said. #

Marilyn Greenwald
Mary T. Rogus
Cheri Russo
A publication of the Ohio University
Society of Professional Journalists
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lnc. co-editor Rebecca McKinsey asks students and an alumna about their most interesting story assignments.
'The most memorable story I`ve ever covered was President Barack
Obama`s health care town hall this summer. At the time, I was work-
ing as the National Political Editor for, a student-run
political Web site (now Covering a speech by the
president of the United States is memorable enough, but on top of that,
his town hall was at my former high school, which made the experi-
ence that much more awesome.¨
-Wesley Lowery, sophomore
'In 2001, when I covered the faculty and curriculum beat for The Post,
I wrote a couple of stories about the faculty`s efforts to establish paid
maternity leave. At the time, when I interviewed a faculty member
who said she had to return to work just three weeks after the birth of
her child, I didn`t really understand how diffcult-impossible, even-
that would be. Now, after having a child of my own, I realize just
how critical those frst 12 weeks are for a new mom and baby, and I
appreciate that I helped shed some light on the need for paid maternity
-Brittany Ritchey, `04 alum
'I wrote an article for the Cleveland News-Herald about decorative
rain barrels. Community members could buy a rain barrel (which is
literally a barrel to catch rain water so that there is less ground water)
and then paint them and submit them in an art show. Some people got
pretty clever. Someone painted a barrel of monkeys once, and there
were underwater scenes. Also, the people who were in charge of the
whole rain barrel decorating process were pretty excited to be getting
the coverage. I was excited to cover the story because it was one of my
frst bylines ever - it was defnitely my frst byline in a major newspa-
per like the News-Herald.¨
-Taylor Pool, freshman
'This summer, I covered a story for Toledo Free Press on the Sight
Center of Northwest Ohio. The Sight Center was receiving a grant for
improvements, so I went and toured their facility. They really go out
of their way to make their patients independent despite their visual
impairments. I also interviewed the director of the Sight Center, who is
blind herself. She is truly an amazing person and was extremely con-
fdent in her leadership abilities. She demonstrated JAWS, a computer
program that enables visually impaired people to be technologically
independent. I left the interview in high spirits.¨
-Michael Stainbrook, freshman
l was a big pop culture person and
always a big feminist, so l just learned
about blogging and married my two
a combination of her own interests, Silverstein said.
'I was a big pop culture person and always a big feminist, so I just
learned about blogging and married my two loves,¨ Silverstein said.
Silverstein said that she has interns from around the world, but that
communication is key to making sure that everyone works together from
different locations.
'Everybody`s kind of doing a
piece of the puzzle so that nobody`s
overwhelmed,¨ Silverstein said.
Silverstein added that she hopes
to start a radio show that will feature
female Hollywood flmmakers and
discuss issues concerning women in
the media and popular culture world.
Silverstein said that while the
internship is not paid, she is open to
helping her interns receive college credit for their work with Women &
Hollywood. She said that she would like interns to contribute between fve
and eight hours a week to their work with the blog.
For more information, interested potential interns can e-mail Melissa
Silverstein at #
Students interested in writing about gender issues or pop culture will
fnd a combination of the two while polishing both their blogging and
researching skills.
Women & Hollywood is an independently run blog and Web site that
addresses issues involving women in the media while featuring information
and reviews about upcoming movies
that center around gender issues. It is
currently looking for interns to work
virtually with the Web site.
Melissa Silverstein is the founder and
writer of Women & Hollywood. She
said that she is looking for dependable
interns who have a working knowledge
of the Internet and are fairly tech-savvy.
She said that potential interns should
have an interest in raising awareness in gender issues and how they relate
to pop culture.
'I think the person really needs to be a feminist.interested in those
kinds of issues,¨ Silverstein said, adding that she is looking for an intern
that can help her improve the Web site.
Based in Brooklyn, NY, the Women & Hollywood blog was born out of
A publication of the Ohio University
Society of Professional Journalists
Women & Hollywood offers virtual blogging internships for students interested in gender issues and the media.
. c
Where Why How
CBS 2 Public Relations
Chicago, Ill. March-May
Apply online at
Assist in special
events and talent
E-mail ostermal@
Anytime Athens, Ohio
Earn 10 dollars
per hour and gain
web experience
The Center for
House Beautiful/
Country Living
Gain journalism
training from
prominent D.C.
Summer, or
E-mail resume
and cover letter
to apreiser@
Gain experience
with web editing
New York,
Spring 2010
Inc: What year did you graduate and what was your sequence?
Hazlett: I graduated in June 2009, and I was in the Magazine sequence. I
earned a second major in Economics and completed the Global Leader-
ship Center, which is a two-year certifcate program in sort of interna-
tional business/consulting.
Inc: What have you been doing since you left OU?
Hazlett: In July of 2009 I moved to New York City to take an internship
with Daily News Digital, the online and web division of the New York
Daily News. That internship ended in October, and in November I was
hired as a part-time editorial assistant at Global Custodian, a fnancial
trade magazine covering the securities industry, specifcally aimed at
global custody banks. I got that job through a
friend and fellow alum, who previously held it
and was moving to a permanent position with a
legal news service. I recently started an intern-
ship with Roadside Entertainment as a produc-
tion intern for a documentary on citizen activist
organizations. I do background research, help out
on shoots and transcribe audio - sort of whatever
needs to be done, I try to help with. And just last
week, I was a freelance producer`s assistant on
an independent documentary. The flm was about
love, and I got to do some feld producing, which
meant that I got to interview some of the partici-
pants and play a more active role. I`ve learned a
lot with these two recent video projects. It`s been
very eye-opening.
Inc: What were some of your most memorable experiences at
Hazlett: I almost jumped out of the window in Scripps 111 my senior
year. The bar I worked at, Jackie O`s, was playing a staff-wide game of
assassin, which is basically an extended game of tag. Each person has a
target, and if you kill your target you take his target, and the game con-
tinues until one person wins. Well, I`d been caught walking into class,
had ditched my backpack in front of the building and bolted back to the
bar, which was base. We actually had a project due that day, so I negoti-
ated the release of the papers (which were in the backpack) and then took
the back way to class and got there late. I spent the whole two hours ner-
vously looking at the door and decided that I could make a break through
the window, which was only about fve feet off the ground. Ultimately I
decided I would probably scandalize Professor Hong Cheng`s class so I
left by the door and got killed on my way out. A window escape would
have been legendary - not going for it is probably my biggest regret.
But there are also the other, more academic, memories - of napping
A publication of the Ohio University
Society of Professional Journalists
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OU grad Alexandra Hazlett spoke to lnc. about her memories - both academic and amusing - of Scripps.
upstairs on the couches outside of Ellen Gerl`s offce in between classes.
I also remember working about 30 hours in two days on a rewrite for my
fnal piece in Magazine Feature Writing. The frst version was just sort of
crap, so I walked into my professor`s offce just dejected and asked what
I could do to make it better and save my grade (I`ll be honest, I wanted
a decent grade on the story) and she just said, 'Well, fgure it out,¨ more
or less. So I went back to my interviews and just stared at the sort of
storyboard I`d taped to my wall in my apartment until it came together.
It was a story on graffti and public art, and it was one of my favorites at
the time.
I also spent about the same about of time on an all-nighter in the
library working on my magazine production project for Professor Brady.
I mistakenly thought I could design my layout in
InDesign, as well as grossly underestimated how
long it would take to do so. On top of that, the
computer wouldn`t save any of my work at about 1
in the morning, so I had to redo it all on a another
computer in a panic to get it to save. That night
didn`t include a lot of sleep either.
Inc: What drew you to Scripps?
Hazlett: I came to Scripps because I wanted to
study journalism. In fact, Ohio University was
the only school I applied to. I visited Athens on a
crappy, rainy day in the spring of my junior year
and just fell in love with the place. The next fall
I visited Northwestern, just as another journalism
school to look at, and I was just really unmoved
by the campus and the people there and had no
interest in living there. Price was also a factor. Northwestern gave no
academic scholarships of any kind, and OU was quite generous with
theirs, so I just couldn`t justify paying a huge sum of money to attend a
school that I wasn`t crazy about for what I though was only a marginally
better education, if any.
Inc: What were you involved in on campus?
Hazlett: I really wasn`t involved in that many activities on campus
actually. I wrote for The Post for fall quarter of my freshman year and
that was it. I spent two years as a reporter for the Athens NEWS, which
I think is really underrated by the student community. I played a lot of
intramural sports - soccer, softball, boxing. I think the best thing I did
was not get too narrowed into any one thing. Diversity of experience is a
huge asset as a journalist; it allows you to relate to people and under-
stand their perspective more easily. I knew people at OU, and now that
I`ve graduated, who seem to spend all their time 'being a journalist¨ and
in the offce - and for the life of me, I can`t fgure out how that works.
My best story ideas and my most interesting topics are the ones I`ve
encountered incidentally, through reading or friends and acquaintances,
or just random strangers on the subway. If you hole yourself up in the
newsroom, you cut yourself off from that rich experience, which is really
what we`re supposed to be covering anyway.
I also spent four years as a high school track coach for Athens High
School, which was another highlight of my time at OU. It really gave
me a window into Athens as a wider community, and made me feel in-
vested in the city holistically, not just as a student. I think more students
should really learn about and give back to the community in which they
live. You`ll meet more people, and I know it made me a better student,
because I felt like the things I did mattered, the stories I wrote mattered
and the way I conducted myself professionally mattered. You also learn
a lot about the hell you put your parents through when you`re trying to
make sure 10 high school students don`t crack their heads open on a pole
vault pole.
Inc: How did being a Scripps student prepare you for what came
after OU?
Hazlett: I`ve said this before to students; what I really felt like I got out
of Scripps, in a tangible sense, was a grounding in how to do things.
There is always a limit to what you can learn, especially about a trade
like journalism. But Scripps teaches you how to write, and how to think,
and those two things are probably most important. If you pay attention,
and really challenge yourself and your professors to get the most out
of your classes, and make sure you look into the everyday situations in
which you will use what you learn, then you will have done everything
possible to prepare yourself through school.
Also, J133 - grammar. I don`t think anyone, even the honors students,
should get to skip out on that class. I managed to catch an error in an AP
headline and overrule the copy department at the Daily News once with
something I learned from that class. And don`t ever let anyone make you
feel guilty for being a stickler about stuff like that - it does matter. If you
can`t take care of and pay attention to the details, how will you treat the
big, important things? It`s a matter of professional pride. Get it right.
Inc: What`s something you miss about Athens?
Hazlett: I miss working at Jackie O`s and eating their pizza, and empana-
das at Casa Nueva Restaurant. The atmosphere in Athens is really some-
thing I came to appreciate, and the way that people don`t really judge
you there. If you`re a decent person who`s willing to be open-minded,
then you`re always welcome. I`m not saying everyone in Athens agrees
with each other, but there is a sort of 'we`re all in this together¨ respect
among everyone. And there`s a huge variety of people there, for the size
of the town. There is always something new and interesting to learn. I
never felt bored in Athens.
Inc: What is something students should make sure they experience
while they`re here?
Hazlett: Drive out at night and visit the Moonville Tunnel. It`s an old
railway tunnel that`s no longer used and is supposedly haunted. I only
went once, at the last minute on a fuke, but it was one of the neatest
A publication of the Ohio University
Society of Professional Journalists
. c
experiences I`ve ever had. It sort of rammed home, yet again, the idea
that there really are myriad experiences to immerse yourself in if only
you take advantage of the opportunities to do so. Thinking you know
everything is the death knell of a journalist. You`ll stop evolving, stop
being curious. At that point you had just better get out.
Inc: What advice would you offer to aspiring journalists?
Hazlett: Unique is an adjective that can only be used alone. Something
cannot be 'very unique¨ or 'more unique.¨ Odds are none of you do that,
but your sources and editors will, and now you`ll cringe as well when
you hear it.
But in all seriousness, I think that if you want to be a journalist, you
need to be willing to fnd the interesting in the everyday. You should
cultivate an interest in other people, and this sounds basic, but I`ve found
that it takes a lot of work. My goal when I meet someone is to do my
best to fnd something interesting about them, to be interested in them,
and to do my best not to talk about my own experiences. It`s not that
there isn`t a place for that, but the more I can fne-tune that conversation-
al skill of putting other people at ease, making them want to explain and
educate me about themselves, the more I can do that in other situations,
and the more I can empathize with people in all areas of my life.
Now, there will be times when you`re stuck at a desk behind a com-
puter and you haven`t talked to a real person for a story in three weeks.
And you may have to ask yourself, and I know I have, what the hell are
you doing there. It sounds sort of counter-intuitive, but I would say to
a lot of the students who will graduate into a trying job market that you
need to be more picky, not less. Don`t just take something because the
name will look good on your resume if you`re not going to grow as a
journalist and as a person. I`m not encouraging any of you to avoid hard
work, or tedious work, because that part is inevitable, but it`s also bear-
able when it`s part of a larger whole. When the tedium is the whole, then
you`re just wasting your time. I don`t mind transcribing interview audio
because it needs to be done, it`s important, and it`s for the greater good
of a larger project. But I also balance that out with other activities that
are challenging and new. I`m happy that the people I`m currently intern-
ing with understand this balance.
Lastly, meet as many people as possible, because you really never
know what will turn up or who they know. At their base level, people
do want to help each other out. If you reciprocate that when you can, it
comes back to you. #
l felt like the things l did mattered,
the stories l wrote mattered and the
way l conducted myself professionally
takes the time to provide you with a good interview, and for whatever
reason, you decide to omit his information, it`s polite to let him know,
explain why and maybe even apologize - before the story goes out.
I frmly believe that sources are the foundation on which my stories
stand - followed closely, of course, by my journalistic perspicacity and
communicative wit. If you don`t include a source and don`t explain why,
your chances of using that person as a source in the future drop drasti-
A fnal mistake to avoid is misusing quotes. A wise person once told
me only to use a source`s words to say something if I can`t say it bet-
ter. Quotes are like chocolate (not dark chocolate - you can never get
enough of that - but any other kind of chocolate). You want to use them
This is not to say you shouldn`t use quotes at all; they add credibil-
ity to a story. However, quotes
should play very specifc roles in
an article. They provide a way for
you to add your sources` opinions
to a story, since - I hope you do
know this - the bits of an article
that a reporter produces kind of
need to be objective. Quotes also
can be used for shock effect in
cases. But they shouldn`t be used
to provide inane information. Your
stories should reach a point that
your readers, upon seeing a set of quotation marks, know they contain
something signifcant.
I wish I could say these are the only three mistakes I`ve made in my
illustrious journalism career. There are more; I`ve just run out of space.
But - I`d like to reference Anne of Green Gables for a slice of genius
that I work to apply to my work as a journalist.
If I make each mistake only once, eventually I`ll
run out of mistakes to make. And then I really
will be a... Wait for it... Perfect journalist.
In the meantime, you can stay ahead of the
game by learning from mistakes that I`ve made
before you make them yourself.
If you remember to send individual e-mails,
let sources know if you can`t use their informa-
tion and use quotes like chocolate - and instinc-
tively avoid all the other mistakes I`ve made
that I`m too ashamed to tell you about - you`ll
be well on your way to becoming a perfect jour-
nalist... Or, at least, the next best thing. #
The world has seen them. Ohio University has seen them. The rest of
us look at them in awe, record their every move and fervently wish to be
They`re that special, unexplainable, infnitely magnifcent breed we
know simply as ... Perfect journalists.
I, unfortunately, am not among this group.
However, I`ve worked to become the next best thing - the journalist
who makes note of her mistakes, comes to an understanding of why they
happened and stores that knowledge in her guilty mental cache affection-
ately dubbed as, 'Things I`m never, ever going to do again. Ever.¨
Once that step has been taken, there`s really only one thing to do -
share those mistakes with my fellow student journalists in the fervent
hope that you all will avoid my imprudent blunders.
So here goes... For your sake, I`m airing my dirty journalism laundry
so that you will beneft in your
future endeavors. Take notes -
really, pull out some paper and
take notes; I`m not kidding - so
that you can be informed on the
best ways to avoid what I like to
call 'Rebecca-gaffes.¨
The frst thing I`ve learned is
that sending out mass e-mails is
a bad idea. If a potential source
opens an e-mail that asks for
help with a story and sees three
dozen names in the 'To¨ box, it`s very likely he will respond in one of
two ways. He may ignore your questions, assuming that with so many
sources, you`ll get whatever information you need from someone else.
Or he may dismiss you as being a lazy sloth who can`t be bothered to
pair questions with each individual source. Either way - he doesn`t reply,
you don`t get quotes and your story suffers.
My advice? (And remember, with all of these tips,
this advice was won the hard way.) Even if you`re
asking more than one person the same questions,
take the extra time to contact each person individu-
ally. You will see better results. Plus, your sources
won`t think you`re a jerk. And in journalism, this is
always a plus.
Mistake number two: Receiving information from
a source - either through an interview or an e-mail
request - and not letting him know if you decide not
to use it. It is, of course, a reporter`s prerogative to
decide at his discretion what information to include
in a story and what to leave out. However, if a source
Your stories should reach a point that
your readers, upon seeing a set of
quotation marks, know they contain
something signifcant.
A publication of the Ohio University
Society of Professional Journalists
. c
lnc. co-editor and columnist Rebecca McKinsey divulges her blunders so that you won't make them too.

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