BOOT CAMP TESTS WRITER'S METTLE
some untrained journalists, the experience of working for a newspaper in
Washington, D.C. would have all the appeal of jumping into a tank of hungry
sharks. Trinity senior Jocelyn Black seized the opportunity to take the
plunge and flourished in her initial venture as an aspiring news reporter.
Chicago native was one of 15 students selected to participate in the Summer
Institute of Journalism sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges
and Universities. The intense four-week journalism boot camp proved to
Black, a communication arts major, that she has the ability to establish
a fulfilling career.
Institute opened my eyes to what journalism is all about," she said. "I
had the least experience of all the students who were there, but I was
encouraged when I learned that many journalists don't have an extensive
background in this field. It confirmed to me that I can make it with hard
people who led the Institute said they took a chance on me because they
detected my ambition to become a journalist. They helped me make the adjustment
to my surroundings. My writing skills got better, and I got an A- for the
program. I think I made a positive impression."
program, which lasted into the middle of June, required Black to submit
one article per week to a newspaper in or near her hometown. She served
as a correspondent for the Daily Southtown, headquartered in Tinley Park,
Illinois, and each of her articles highlighted local angles of national
stories. Most of her coverage centered on the bustling activity on Capitol
was quite nervous when I first arrived, especially while I was trying to
familiarize myself with 'the Hill.' My first two weeks felt like a year
because I was learning so many things about D.C., the program, journalism.it
was almost overwhelming.
is the heartbeat of Washington. Everything seems to revolve around the
government, so there was always something to cover. Once I became comfortable,
my last two weeks passed pretty quickly. I enjoyed getting to know the
people I interviewed, and they were willing to open up to me."
also experienced the uncertainty that Washington residents live with on
a regular basis due to the capital city's exposure to terrorism. A bomb
scare gave her a new respect for journalists and a different perspective
was in the Capitol on the day that President (Ronald) Reagan's body was
supposed to lie in state when the building was evacuated because of a bomb
threat. I believed I was going to die because I knew I couldn't outrun
a bomb. I admire those who go overseas to cover the war because they deal
with threats of that nature constantly.
incident showed me what priority my career should have in my life. I learned
that for a lot of journalists, their careers demand so much of their time.
Many of them sacrifice time with their families and other personal interests
that I'm not sure I want to make."
is considering a career in public relations after she graduates in May
if she does not pursue journalism. She believes the Institute gave her
a preview of how her professional life will unfold, whichever route she
of my mentors in Washington told me that I don't necessarily have to be
a good writer, but I have to be a good rewriter," she said. "He stressed
the importance of proofreading, editing, and double-checking because that
is what helps good writers become great writers. Regardless of which field
I enter, I know I have to continue writing and improving my skills. I have
a lot to learn, but I'm excited about what lies ahead."
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