1. Jennifer8112
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    Jennifer8112 New Member

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    Journalism: Who knows about it?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Jennifer8112, Jun 18, 2014.

    I'm new here. Hi everyone :)
    First off let me just say how much I loath research when it comes to writing (because I feel like rambling). I hate, hate, HATE how having limited knowledge on a topic, such as journalism, will force me to struggle in finishing a novel I really want to write.

    Okay, rant over. The novel I'm working on is about an aspiring journalist who is offered an internship for a fictional newspaper in NYC. I hate that I can't just go through and write this, because I know nothinggg about being in a newsroom, interning for one, etc. And yes, I know I can research it myself, but that takes forever. The thing I hate most about research is that I can never find the answers I'm looking for, ever. It always gives me a whole lot of information I have no use for.

    That's where (hopefully) you fellow writers come through for me. I'm wondering if any of you have worked for a newspaper, an online one or for an actual print one. Print will be way more helpful, but I assume those are way less common these days. Anyone who knows ANYTHING about writing for a newspaper, can I please borrow a small amount of your time to ask you questions so I can get a better idea of how it all works? I will be very grateful, and you can have had your good Samaritan deed for the day.

    Specifically I need to know:
    - What the inside of a newsroom looks like
    - How a newsroom functions/a day in the life of a journalist
    - What to expect as an intern for a newsroom/what an interns responsibilities would consist of.
    And so on. Kinda desperate for some help here. It's so frustrating when these kinds of things delay the writing process. Thanks in advanced all.
     
  2. Jennifer8112
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    Jennifer8112 New Member

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    Also, if you happen to have some online links/books I could look at to help that'd be great. Yes, I'll be doing research myself of course, but you never know who may find something that I've missed during my search.
     
  3. NanashiNoProfile
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    NanashiNoProfile Member

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    Hi,

    I've got a degree in journalism, have written for several websites during a time around 10 years ago now, had interviews in magazine publishers and have written my own magazine. This was all video game based, so I don't know how useful it could be!

    During uni, we had a board with notes and phone numbers of beginnings for stories. We would take those stories and divide them up between us and follow up on the leads. I imagine in some cases you would be expected to find the stories yourself, but this was education so I'd guess it might be different. There was another board with "Who, What, Where, Why, When, How" on it, as a prompt for you to flesh out your stories correctly. We'd be given strict deadlines as you might expect, and had to submit whatever we had and face the consequences if we reported an embarrassing story to the rest of the room. Our lecturer/editor was incredibly strict in uni, but perfectly normal outside. He was a big fan of taking interviewees to the pub so that you could get more info out of them for the price of a few pints. We tried this quite a bit, it certainly gives you a tolerance for drink! Notebooks didn't last long, we would burn through them, often with lots of stories that failed to go anywhere.

    We also spent a lot of time sending out emails to people that we would try and get interviews with, and would be required to research these people with sometimes unnerving levels of depth (I found out one guys home and mobile number, the names of cats and children, his wife, all of his jobs - all in the name of a story. It felt a bit weird tbh).

    As for my online work, that mostly revolved around emails, sending back and forth work between myself and my editor, who would want an updated piece of work in short time. It made for a lot of late nights in front of a computer - I would imagine similar dedication would take place in a large newspaper, news studio.

    So, sadly, I don't think I can answer the questions you asked specifically. But I hope that any of the above may be of some assistance. If you had other questions related to what I've done, I could see what I can do. Just saw you really wanted an answer so put down what I know.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My mother worked as a stringer for a newspaper for a while. Among other things, she was assigned to go to or check the places where news might turn up--city council meetings, the report of crimes and incidents prepared by the local police department, listening to the police scanner, attending charity events and school sport and academic events, and so on.
     
  5. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I worked as an intern once at a small online news outlet in Washington DC. In our case they had a very small staff of writers so they used the interns as reporters - we have two primary types of responsibilities. Either we were sent to the Capitol Building to cover press conferences or try to interview congressmen walking on the sidewalk...or we'd be given some sort of big government document to pick through and try to find newsworthy things. That or we'd be given a weird news item from a local outlet or something to research and write on. Granted, I've been told this is probably NOT a typical intern experience - but it does happen at 'boutique' outlets like the one I was at.

    Also would love to hear what your premise is - I'm also writing a story centered around journalists.

    As an aside, give some thoughts to the quirks of the newsroom. There are going to be a lot of high-strung, cynical, sarcastic types - in both management and in the lower positions. There will be a lot of egos and some interesting habits. One thing I remember vividly was that we had two TVs at the opposite ends of our tiny newsroom, both tuned to FoxNews, and the newsroom always stopped for car chases. No joke. Shepard Smith on Fox LOVES covering random car chases and he's usually on near lunch - so when that happened all the reporters would gather around the TV and mock the strategy of whatever crazy miscreant was trying to get away from the cops on that given day. (One time a guy led the copes on a chase through a parking garage with no way out and we were all like. "OH COME ON! Don't go in there!")

    Remember that news for these people is a day-to-day grind - they will be numb to, or even amused by, certain experiences that the public might be horrified by.
     
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