25 05

WJI 2021, Day 11 AM - The Value of Local News

We finished our first week of WJI, and what a full week! From attending the local Tulip Festival and writing stories on Saturday to finishing our stand-up TV project Thursday night, I could tell my capacity was stretched, even in just a week.

After a restful Sunday taking lots of walks and playing volleyball, I was excited for this week because we shifted into focused tracks: broadcast, feature writing, and hard news. I’m in the hard news track. I’ll admit, I felt nervous about it at first. The fast pace of a traditional newsroom keeps you on your toes.

First thing this morning, our student team of eight gathered in the morning with Mr. Pitts and an editor with the N’west Iowa Review for a newsroom budget meeting. It didn’t take long before I caught the bug — the excitement of seeing an interesting story idea and realizing the possibilities for an assignment.

I get to talk to all kinds of people and learn about topics I wouldn’t usually think to study. One thing that stood out today was learning about the local newspapers. They are committed to stories that mean something to the residents of North West Iowa: stories about businesses, students who excelled in school, and residents’ successes. They’re stories that make a town a rich and vibrant community. At a time when local print journalism is increasingly rare, The Sioux Center News and other local papers embody the strong values of the communities they serve.

I’m grateful I get to spend a week participating in their work. Our team jumped right in, making phone calls and setting up meetings. My assignments range from local news on ballparks and soccer leagues to the more broad topic of social media. The day flew by as we spent the afternoon gathering material. I look forward to seeing all the pieces fall into place tomorrow as I head off campus for more interviews!

- Anna Timmis