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Reflective Essay

Nikky Sims

December 14, 2020

JTC 210

Reflective Essay

What does journalism mean to me? I have honestly learned so much in this news writing class. Every time I came into class, I felt like I learned something new. Honestly, if I never had this class, I do not think I would have improved in my writing skills. I felt like I was a horrible writer but after going into this class I realized I just need more things under my belt to improve. I still have a long way to go but at least now I know I do not want to give up on my dreams of being a write like I thought at the beginning of the semester. I have taken a few skills under my belt that I will never forget. My five most important skills I have learned from are using the AP stylebook, inverted pyramid style, quote writing, leads, and hourglass style.

One of the biggest skills I learned this year was using the Associated Press Style Book. I still struggle to remember to pull it out and look at it when I feel something, I have written seems funny. I found it so fascinating to learn things like numbers ten and above do not need to be spelled out or how it is better to use non gender specific names in your writing. For example, fireman would go to firefighter. Having the stylebook quizzes this year help me to understand how to truly use the book so when I leave this class and go further into my journalism major, I feel like I will be able to write better for my classes. I do not think that other journalism classes will benefit from the knowledge gained from this book but so will my other classes. I have already seen an improvement in my grades in my art history class, media in society class and in this one. The book has shown me so many new ways to write and if I did not go into journalism as a major, I would have never learned of this amazing book and its suggestions.

Another skill I learned from this class it was the use of inverted pyramid style in my writing. Looking back at most articles I use to read inverted pyramid style was what they used, and I did not even know it. I always thought that you could just write whatever wanted, however you wanted but I was wrong. The inverted pyramid style was something I did not learn about until this year in my journalism classes. I find it interesting that you have the most important information first and then it goes down to the background information. I always wondered why it was so easy to read the first couple paragraphs to figure out what was going on and not needing to read on. This style is one I have been trying to incorporate into my writing. For even books I think it might be beneficial. I think it is a new way to get your many purpose or idea across. Using this style has provided me with an easier time writing my thesis statements in papers. I have started to think about what is the most important thing that if writing in this style would be the lead. I will be using the inverted pyramid style in the future or at least use it to help write papers.

I have also learned about how to write quotes. I think this is one of the most contrasting skills when I compare it to what I had learned previously. I learned that you do not have to limit yourself to a few words to make a quote. In high school I was always told that you need to write only a few words for a quote maybe even one word because a reader will get bored. Going into this class I have learned that you can use a lot more than just one especially since you will be quoting someone for a story rather than for a paper. Another thing that was different was the use of putting quotes together and saying who said it. In high school I was always told that you could not put quotes any where near each other they need to be spread throughout a paper. In this class however I have learned that I can combine up to at least three quotes. I just need to separate the first and the second by putting who said it and after the second I would need to put period to end the quote and then add a quotation mark next to the third quote but not on the second. I know now that there are multiple ways to write quotes, but I just prefer the one more than the other. Since I will be continuing in journalism, I will be using quotes like this.

The next skill I have learned about is writing leads. I never thought that articles would have a opening statement or something like a thesis statement. A lead lets us summarize the most important aspects of the story in the first paragraph so that we know exactly what to expect from the story. If we did not have this, I think articles would be confusing and disorganized. Learning about what a lead is and how to use it has shown me just how little I knew about journalism. I also learned about delayed leads. I found it interesting that leads could also be put somewhere farther into the article and change the way you read. I think it is more fun than just the normal lead because you can get more colorful before introducing the subject of the story. At the time of learning what a lead was I honestly had such a hard time writing them. After having some practice, I think it flows out a lot easier however I still have some room for growth. Every time I think of leads and look back at when I learned about it, I get so excited because I still have so much to learn but that is one less thing to worry about.

The last skill I learned about this semester was the hourglass style writing. I found this style of writing to be the most difficult for me, but I know that I will continue to practice with it and one day I will improve. I had a hard time wrapping my head around this style of writing. This one is so interesting because you put the main news in first then you have a transitioning paragraph or sentence that then brings you into the story with the beginning, middle and end. The part that I most struggled with was the transition. I felt like the other part were easier. The main news was basically like the start of inverted pyramid but with a little more news and the narrative story is my idea of how a book might be written. Having this as another style of writing under my belt helps to provide me with a variety of ways to write a spectacular and engaging story. I still need to improve in this style of writing, but I have learned a lot from without being perfect at it.

I have enjoyed this class so much and can not wait for other fun classes awaiting me here at Colorado State. I have learned a lot more than just these five skills, but these ones are the biggest most important ones to me. I will be taking all of these on to my other classes.

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