by Iliana Papangeli, January 11, 2019
Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.”
Quoting famous people in journalistic texts does not always add credibility. However, if we had to choose a few words to describe the experience we shared during the Storytelling classes, these words from Hunter S. Thompson, the father of Gonzo journalism, would be a perfect example. It is this kind of inspiration that this course sought to instill in its students and everyone else involved. Now that the workshop is coming to a close, this quote sums up how all the young journalists-in-the-making are feeling.
Our training program in Storytelling consisted of a series of multi-faceted classes designed to bring students into the core of journalism today but most importantly to inspire them and nurture their unique style and approach. It followed an in-depth account of contemporary journalism and throughout its duration it proved to be an inspired journey both for those who seem to have a flair for writing and even for the more skeptical students who very soon showed a great interest in photography and film-making.
During the Storytelling workshop, the students got an introduction to the mission of journalism and had an overview of the different journalistic genres, like beat reporting, investigative reporting, feature stories, etc. They got to the essence of Storytelling by exploring the premises of journalistic writing and what comes after that: from the fact checking to pitching your story.
The workshop got at the heart of reporting and journalistic writing and went through all the steps of doing so – from a text’s structure, typology of journalistic content and reporting genres to essential tools that investigative journalists use to enhance their digital research skills.
The students also conducted effective brainstorming sessions to generate ideas to fill their editorial calendar from which they drew the topics for their final projects. The workshop incorporated activities to help students learn and become familiar with the process of interviewing. By conducting interviews in class, the students not only got to know each other better but also learned how to deal with the process of interviewing. This includes understanding how important it is to be well prepared and even how to organize, structure and sort out information so as to succeed in an appealing journalistic narration.
Material of great quality was also provided in order to facilitate the process of learning. The students reviewed journalistic pieces of writing, discussed visualized storytelling, and watched documentaries and films that inspired them and raised fruitful debates and conversations. They were also taught the techniques and tips that make a story newsworthy; the significance for a journalist to develop a system of archiving, and even the importance of security both for themselves as journalists and their sources, whether anonymous or not.
Observe, interview, research, investigate, cultivate sources and network. These are only a few of the essentials of reporting. So, what’s the most important thing we learned? Like our instructor use to say to the students, every journalist and journalist-in-the-making should read, read, read and get out there! For the most memorable parts of a story are usually out in the world. Get out there then!
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