Over the semester, I have gotten a strong idea about my stories and learn about what went well, what did not go as well and how my future stories can be improved. I also noticed main themes that were in my weekly stories. A main theme is that many of my stories were human interest based. These stories were some of the main influences on my work. Early in the semester during our class tutorials, we discussed what good news stories are, how newsworthy they are and what is considered good news. These topics influenced my perspective in finding certain stories. Over the course of the semester, news stories became easier to write and providing multimedia became easier too, as common journalism news values and practices became more familiar. I learned significantly about the importance of social media for journalism. I realised that there have been some challenges and pressures in completing the weekly stories, since some stories were more difficult than others to obtain the multimedia requirements, and some stories were generally harder to write.
In the second week of class, we discussed the role of news reporters in today’s media and the value in their stories that they publish. This really made me think about the stories that I wanted to write about and what would be suitable journalism stories. At the beginning, it was daunting for me to think about finding a journalism story every week. I was nervous at the thought of it, and I found it difficult to think of story ideas. According to Comrie (2014), possible news stories are everywhere, especially in your local community there are many events happening. It is the journalist’s job to be able to be a good observer of what is happening around them and be able to recognise stories that are newsworthy and be strategic to write about them (Comrie, 2014). This relates to my experience, since I found the majority of my earlier stories from within my community. Even though it was daunting trying to find stories at the beginning of the semester, it gradually became easier as I became more familiar with finding stories in the community and interviewing people. According to Comrie (2014), one of the most important news values is good news. The idea of what good news is made me think before I searched for my stories. Since I wanted to write stories that reflected positive aspects of society and what was happening that the majority of the public did not know about.
Journalists need to write stories that are informative, and are of public interest (Comrie, 2014). I struggled with finding stories that were of public interest. Since I noticed that the majority of my stories have been human interest stories. According to Comrie (2014), human interest stories are some of the most popular for journalists to write, because they are relatable and the public enjoys reading them. I managed to find many human interest stories within my community which I wrote about. For example, one of my stories was about a woman’s experience with a disorder called aphantasia. Since it was such a personal story and affects her life in a significant way, this made the interview more interesting and engaging. It also made it easier for me to find other sources who also had aphantasia, because I noticed that people really wanted to talk about it and share their experiences, since it is a topic that is not widely known about.
Michelle Andrews (who has aphantasia) pictured by me for my story
During the semester, I found it easy to produce multi-media, such as photographs, videos and audio recordings. According to Hannis, Lee, Riddle, Strong and Treadwell (2014), journalists have to be able to develop all their skills to be multi-platform, since we are in a digital age, this means that we have to provide a range of multi-media to accompany our stories. I found it easy from the beginning of the semester to be able to request video or audio recordings from the people I was interviewing. After completing a few stories, it became like second nature to be able to take photographs, audio recordings and videos of my subjects in my stories. However, there were some instances when my subjects did not want to be videoed, for example in my Ben and Jerrys story. Therefore, I took an audio recording instead. This was a disadvantage for my story, since I thought that the story would have been more effective with a video recording.
On the day of Ben and Jerry’s ‘Free Cone Day’ pictured by me
A tool that really helped me find stories was social media. According to Nielson and Schroder (2014), social media is a helpful tool for journalists to find their news, since information is constantly posted on there about what is happening in the environment. I really used social media to my advantage because I was able to find the majority of my stories on Facebook. Facebook really helped me to find stories that were in my local community, as well as interact with different people had different experiences and were worth writing a story about. For example, one of my stories was about the Bayview community market in Glenfield and how children were working there. I would not have been able to find this story if I wasn’t active on Facebook and search for stories on it.
Photo sourced from pexels.com
During the course of writing news stories, there were challenges and difficulties. I personally struggled finding certain angles for my stories that hadn’t already been discussed previously in the media before. For example, one of the stories I did was about midwives in New Zealand. Since there has already been a lot of discussion about the treatment of midwives in New Zealand, I had to think of another angle for my story. However, I managed to find another angle, in relation to a certain source’s experience with midwifery. Therefore, it was more of a follow-up story on a topic that has been widely discussed in the media. Follow up stories are generally good news stories because they inform the public on new angles to issues that have already been addressed (Comrie, 2014).
In the future, I will definitely try to expand where I get obtain my story ideas from. I do believe social media is a good way of finding story ideas, but I also want to be able to find a wide variety of stories from all over Auckland. This means I would have to get out of my comfort zone more. However, in my ‘Humans of South Auckland’ story I did interview South Aucklanders, which was very interesting to talk to people with different lifestyles.
In conclusion, over the course of the semester, there have been many challenges, difficulties and advantages in regards to my journalism stories. Some of the key challenges and difficulties was finding stories at the beginning and trying to find stories with strongest possible news values. However, some of the advantages were that social media helped me find stories and collecting multimedia was easier than I thought. For my future news stories, I have learned that I need to get out of my comfort zone more. For most of my stories I found them within my local community, however, it may have been more valuable for me to venture out to different locations around Auckland because I would have been more likely to find a wider variety of stories.
Comrie, M. (2014). News gathering. In Hannis, G. (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century (pp.17-30). Wellington, New Zealand: NZJTO
Hannis, G., Lee, A., Riddle, C., Strong, C., & Treadwell, G. (2014). Understanding Journalism. In Hannis, G. (ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st century A-NZ; Wellington, NZ. NZJTO.
Nielsen, R. & Schrøder, K. (2014). The relative importance of social media for accessing, finding, and engaging with news. Digital Journalism, 2(4), 472-489.