I promise I’m a balanced reporter.
By that, I don’t mean I’m trying to reassure you that I report on all possible sides of an issue, etc. (But that said, I do my best to report on all sides of an issue!)
Rather, I’m trying to reassure you that even though this blog has gone severely photo-heavy in the past few weeks, I’m still trucking along as a political reporter in Jefferson City.
I’d prefer not to disclose details, but my editor Phill Brooks has had me working on a few features. Those are to be completed before the legislative session calendars truly become congested with hot bills and fast-paced action. There are only five and a half weeks left in session, so that doesn’t leave me much time.
One of those features is something Phill wants me to drop for now and instead pursue next semester, as an independent study project. It’d be a complete package: written story/ies, photos, audio, multimedia, everything. And, if I can get it right, it could be a very compelling story.
I already discussed this possibility with my Advanced Reporting instructor Tom Warhover. Here are the considerations and consequences we agreed I need to keep in mind when I make my decision:
- I’m already registered for 12 credit hours (four courses) next semester. To complete this project, which would be fairly time-consuming, I would have to drop one of my photojournalism electives.
- I need to make sure I’d have enough time to do Staff Photojournalism (one of my three-hour courses next semester, but it would require far more than three hours of work a week). That is a course I simply cannot put off any further.
- Transportation? It’d really help to have a car.
- If I did pursue this project, this would be my third semester with Phill as my editor. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but my development as a reporter could benefit from working with a different editor.
That said, I haven’t made up my mind, at all. I don’t think I need to until May or so. But it’s certainly something I have to consider very carefully.
The biggest advantage of completing such a project would be getting/having to use all my tools in my journalist’s toolbox. I can report, I can photograph and I can record video and audio. Pulling all those skills together into one big package would be an incredible effort but completely worth it.
Especially in these hard times for the journalism industry, it’s important for me (and for all journalism students) to continue developing as a multifaceted journalist. I don’t anticipate having the luxury of relying solely on my skills as a photojournalist to sustain me once I enter the job market. The ability and skills to operate as a multitalented journalist are not just assets; they are necessities.
As I detailed in the second half of this post, I’ve gone from broadcast to print to photo in my eleven years of interest in journalism. I have some degree of background with each of those areas, although I’ve leaned very heavily toward print and photo. And this summer, I’ll be doing a lot of multimedia work at washingtonpost.com.
So should I take all the experience I’ve had thus far and put it toward one big story package next semester? I really don’t know yet. The advantages are clear, but the disadvantages are not as transparent.
Right now, because my interest still lies with photojournalism (which is my major anyway), my priority has to be completing my photojournalism coursework. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to double-major in print/digital reporting if the journalism school allowed it. But there are so many factors to consider.
So, I might be back in Jefferson City next semester, at least for a little bit. But for now, I’m still editing hundreds of spring break roadtrip photos (specifically, the film!), still doing political reporting in the state capital and still vastly uncertain of what the future holds for me.