The wonderful experience of : Open Your Own Door

DeeShawnte D. Jefferson, staff writer

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I feel so honored to tell my experience about the Indiana Collegiate Press Associations 2019 conference. Entering the doors of the workshops, I instantly felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I was greeted with smiles, I noticed that all the other students were communicating with me as if they knew me. And after looking at the list of workshops I had a hard time choosing just two, but I now know that I made really good decisions.

The “Transferable, Marketable Skills of Journalism” workshop was the one that stood out to me the most. It was taught and led by Lisa Renze from Ball State University. She expressed the importance to “Open Your Own Doorrr”, which means (Deadlines, Observation, Organization, Research, Relationships and Results).

I’ve had a problem with deadlines in the past, now I know that in any project I do in life, I will have deadlines, and it is important for us to know that deadlines don’t only apply to journalism. It applies to life in general. When we get a bill in the mail that says it needs to be paid by a certain date, the date listed is the deadline.

Renze also spoke about observation and how being observant is very important to being a journalist. She mentioned that in order to write really good stories, it is important to pay attention to detail.

“Even while interviewing someone from your university, pay attention to what he or she has hanging around the office;  and find some way to include that into your writing. Ask them questions about it,” Said Renze.

This opened my mind, because I wasn’t very observant in the past. But as I grow in my writing, I realize that you can tweak the smallest things in your writing. Someone I am interviewing with may have a New England Patriots picture hanging in their office, but I could be interviewing them about basketball. To make the story more in depth, I would start a conversation about his or her relationship with the NFL team. To compare and contrast the differences of basketball and football, I have been encouraged to ask questions about everything around me and tie it into my story.

Organization was also a nice nugget I plan to implement into not only my writing, but my life as a whole. Being organized with your writing is very important. Organization is how you will keep up with meetings, interviews and most importantly, your deadlines.

Next up was research. Knowing the history of what I’m writing about, knowing the history of who I’m writing about and who I’m interviewing. All of this is very important, because if I do my research I can hold a more in depth interview. Asking questions like, “I see that you’ve won an award at ICPA in the past, how did you feel about winning the award? Did you expect to win?” Questions that I ask people who don’t know me, but see that I have put in an effort to do research on them gives them the opportunity to provide me with more information and gives me a chance to build a relationship with the person I am interviewing.

Equally important was “relationship” and how building a relationship with the people who you interview, or plan to interview, is important. Building a solid relationship with the people you interview will open the door for future interviews. It opens the door for other opportunities. So building relationships was something that I felt was very important to hear about.

Last but not least was “results,” which is what you get once you’ve put in the necessary work. Results are what let me know what I need to change in order to get better results the next time around. Everything listed above, if done properly, will lead to wonderful and accurate results.

Other than “Open Your Own Doorrr” I was educated on the different fields I could go in as a journalist. One field I felt I may soon go into would be advertising, because I am so creative with ads and gaining attention from customers would be something that my ads would definitely do.  Another being education. I would like to teach people about journalism and all you can do with it. I want to be able to teach people who will be in places like me to follow their dreams as a journalist and know that as long as they put in the work they will be successful despite what is said about us.

After listening to Lisa Renze, I planned to apply everything I had heard from her and apply it into my everyday life.

Once it was time for Q&A’s, I asked Lisa Renze, “How do I know that a school is the perfect pick for me?” She replied, “Before applying, go out and visit the schools. Write down your likes and dislikes. See what works for you and what doesn’t. And ultimately you’ll be able to feel it, trust your gut! And go somewhere where you’ll be known and where you’ll be missed.”

Overall, I was blessed with each and every word I heard at ICPA 2019. I encourage journalists of all ages and from all over to attend and hear about all there is in the world for journalist.