WJI 2016 Blog - Day Four - So we’re here, now what?
May 18, 2016
“Go to the World Journalism Institute’s two-week long intensive program,” they said. “Chase story leads and traverse the hills of Asheville,” they said.
Well, “they” failed to mention the whole classroom aspect.
On Day 3 of the WJI’s “Backpack Journalism in a Digital Age,” program participants embraced their roles as students. Spending the vast majority of the day inside the WJI classroom, we learned from accomplished professionals hailing from all corners of the journalism world.
Waking up our spirits like a slow-brewed cup of joe, World Editor-in-Chief Marvin Olasky began the day by speaking about having a Christian worldview amidst common present-day challenges. Following his lead, we explored a brief foray into how to effectively write for the web with World Digital Executive Editor Mickey McClean and Managing Editor Leigh Jones. The two gave tips and tricks from their numerous years of website experience before giving the floor to World Radio Executive Producer Nick Eicher.
Eicher’s lessons covered numerous layers of radio, including hints such as keeping sentence structure simple and using an ample amount of action verbs. These lessons reverberated throughout the day from the web content to the radio reporting and finally, to a talk by the Associate Dean of WJI, Lee Pitts. His timely lesson about writing to be read encouraged us to use each new day as an opportunity to improve the craft of writing.
Ahead of a plethora of writing assignments, we soaked in Pitts’ words in an outside classroom setting. As the sun set and the stars twinkled above our heads, Pitts’ lessons touched on one of the Institute’s most powerful and memorable instructions – answering the question of “so what?”
This question resonates on numerous levels not only in a journalistic sense, but also in a real-world kind of way. So what? Who cares? If our writing has no purpose, why is it even being written? As Pitts and the day’s speakers reminded us, just as Christians aim to live their lives in a loving and worshipful way towards God, writing serves a specific purpose.
Unheard story’s need to be told and the tactics we learned are tools in our journalistic tool chest to enable us to do just that. With Day 3 wrapping up in thought-provoking fashion, we eagerly anticipate uncovering our purposes as journalists within the context of our Creator.
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