Momentum

After spending some time feeling like I’ve been struggling to get on my feet with magazine-style writing, I’m starting to think I’m getting some traction and starting to move forward.

I turned in another draft of my gun culture story to the Vox editors, really working to get what they suggested and trying to get the focus of the story where it needed to be. I also worked with my co-reporters to get the story into good shape.

Later that week, I sat down with my new editor, who gave us some suggestions but told us our copy was looking much better than the previous draft. This was definitely a huge weight off my shoulders and a reminder that even if there’s a crazy learning curve in this whole journalism major thing, I’m still growing a lot. It was also a huge relief to feel like the story is getting into good shape so I can start focusing on my next assignment.

Last week, my intermediate writing class pitched ideas for our profile stories. At first, I really struggled with what I wanted to write about, but I talked to my professor about my ideas, and he told me both of them had some promise if I could hammer out the focus some. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I really wrestle with pitching ideas. It freaks me out and makes me spend way too much time worrying that all my ideas are going to turn out badly. So being told I had some decent ideas was definitely a confidence booster. Then on Thursday, I pitched to the class, which was definitely some good continued experience in being willing to put my ideas out there. It’s starting to look like I have a topic for my profile, so I should hopefully be doing some preliminary interviews next week, and I’ll be able to see more then.

I’ve also been getting some traction in my editing class. We’ve been moving from a lot of theoretical talk to actually editing some fake stories. Even through this, I’m starting to see areas where I’m growing and need to continue growing. I’m learning how to find holes in stories and avoid unintentional bias. I’ve reached the point where I kind of want to throw something every time I see the word “allegedly.” I get to go through stories with a fine tooth comb in an attempt to figure out anything that might be wrong with a story.

It’s been good to get to see this more behind-the-scenes side of reporting, especially since I’m hoping it will improve my own writing. With what I’m learning here, I’ll be able to spot potential problems in my own story and get rid of them on the front end. I’m starting to feel less like I have no idea what I’m doing and more like I’m really starting to dig in and learn what I need to do.

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