WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Growing Pains for Aspiring Journalists

Feb 19, 2019

Shop Talk panelists Jasmine Crighton and Will Buss talk about some of the training they provide to students in their news reporting and writing classes.

Crighton said she has guest speakers address classes and assigns students to write a report about what they heard.  Crighton said students often get many facts incorrect -- details they could double check without doing much digging.

Crighton said this exercise shows students how easy it is to get information wrong. She said it shakes up students to learn they’ve made so many mistakes.

Buss said he uses a series of writing assignments and quizzes in his beginning writing classes.  He said he finds students often jump to conclusions and make assumptions. 

Buss feels many of his students learn from those mistakes.  He said it is better for them to make mistakes in a class than in a professional newsroom.

Panelist Rich Egger said college is supposed to provide learning experiences so mistakes are expected.  He said students would not need instruction if they got everything correct.

Egger also pointed out learning extends beyond the classroom.  He said veteran reporters make mistakes too, whether it’s an incorrect detail, a misspelled word, or forgetting to check battery levels in recorders before heading into the field.

Shop Talk is a panel discussion featuring Jasmine Crighton, News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University; Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at WIU and advises the student editors at the Western Courier; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.