Back in October, I took the Dow Jones News Fund, Inc. editing test. In December, received my results – a phone call from DJNF alerting me that I’d won a summer internship through the program and would be spending my summer working as a copy editor at Minneapolis’ Star Tribune.
I’m nearly two months into my internship, and while I’ve learned a lot here in Minneapolis, I think my favorite part of the experience was the eight-day editing course at the University of Missouri I took in late May. All of the DJNF editing interns – eight of us total, from all corners of the U.S. – participated in the week of intense editing exercises and lessons. Our instructors jokingly referred to the experience as “editing boot camp” – and they weren’t far off. We spent about nine hours a day in a classroom setting studying the details of everything from headline writing to double-checking numbers used in copy to whether to use “lie” or “lay.” In the evenings, we’d all go to work at The Columbia Missourian, the University of Missouri’s student newspaper.
The days were long, but incredibly rewarding. I left the editing course not only with a much deeper knowledge of copy editing, but with seven new close friends. From our separate newsrooms across the country, we still keep in touch – usually to laugh together when we see a funny headline or egregious AP wire story error (if we learned one thing during that editing course, it’s that absolutely everyone makes mistakes – that’s why copy editors are so important!).
Our DJNF instructor Brian Brooks, a retired journalism professor at the University of Missouri, said something during the week that has stayed with me all summer: “Editing is an art, not a science; you’re not always going to come up with the same answer.”
I carried that quote with me to the Star Tribune newsroom, where I see the importance of a strong copy desk every single day. Copy editors correct everything from fact checking to photo captions to headline writing. We’re the last eyes that see a story before it goes to print, so it’s our job to ensure accuracy.
It’s like the saying that every person should work as a waiter at least once in his or her life. That way, you fully appreciate the effort, and sometimes stress, that goes into serving a meal, and in turn you’ll be a better patron (and better tipper). The same holds true for copy editing. Since my very first newsroom job, I’ve worked as a reporter, and I still plan to pursue a reporting job after graduation. I just love talking to people and listening to their stories. But now that I’ve worked as a copy editor, I see all the “behind the scenes work” that goes into putting a story on the page and triple-checking it for errors before it goes to print.
Copy editors are a newsroom’s last lifeline and last chance to ensure accuracy before a story is released to the public eye. Reporters can’t – and shouldn’t – do it all by themselves, and if they do, quality will surely suffer. Through working on the copy desk every night alongside the attentive, hardworking editors at the Star Tribune, I’ve learned that a newspaper is only as strong as its copy desk.
Taylor Kuether, journalism major
Taylor Kuether (fourth from right) and her classmates at the DJNF “Editing Bootcamp.”
From long-running success in competitive speaking to emerging success in film-making, the Department of Communication and Journalism has been getting kudos in local media the last couple of weeks!
VolumeOne included the legendary UWEC Forensics team in its list of local champions. Read the story here:
Both the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and VolumeOne included news about the premiere of a student-produced film at the Frameline 37 San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. This film was produced during the 2012 version of the LGBTQA Studies: San Francisco Travel Seminar, co-taught by CJ faculty member Associate Professor Ellen Mahaffy.
See the stories here:
In regard to international travel, one thing is certain: your expectations will be blown away. Such is the case with our travels in Moldova, in Eastern Europe. Our UW-Eau Claire group has been exploring the world of Moldova, including the small village of Giurgiulesti. This village now holds a dear place in our hearts, which was evident by the tears that flowed as we said farewell last week. It is amazing how even through a language barrier love can still be communicated.
Aside from the many interviews for our research projects and the teaching we did with the village students, I learned many lessons of Moldovan culture and collected fond memories in Giurgiulesti. We often brag of our American work ethic, especially those of us from the Midwest. I can brag no longer. I was astounded by the Moldovan way of life and ashamed of what I used to consider “hard work.”
Each home in Giurgiulesti has a beautiful garden with rows of grape vines in the backyard. Cherry trees, pear trees, tomato plants, herbs and other plants are scattered throughout their gardens. Among all of the gardens sit pens of chickens and ducks. The typical small Moldovan homestead is a full-time job. Gardening isn’t a hobby, it is a way to sustain life.
The economic situation in Moldova doesn’t allow for a life of relaxation and free time. A vacation is a dream and travel is an impossibility for the average village person. Most families use their garden to provide what their income can’t.
Most of the women not only tend to the garden and animals, but have a full-time job. For instance, my host mom is the village nurse. She heads to her office at the school by 8 a.m. and is back before supper. She wakes at the crack of dawn to tend to the garden and make the meals before leaving. There is no rest for her when she returns from school. She heads right to the plants that need watering, chickens that need feeding, or cherries that need picking. Bedtime comes long after the sun sets.It seems there is no end when it comes to work. As a result, there is great sacrifice. For instance, my host mother spent her Saturday picking all of the cherries to sell the next day at a market in a nearby town. The profit of the sales was for diapers that are to be a gift for her soon-to-be grandson.
It was mind-blowing to see a culture that is so diligent in its work and sacrificial with its time and leisure. The people of Moldova bring a new standard to work-ethic. They accomplish more in a day than I would in weeks. Yet, for the many jobs they do they don’t get to experience luxury or rest. Through my eyes the life in the village is far too difficult.
However, I’ve also discovered such beauty in the difficulty. There is beauty in how the Moldovan culture takes joy in the little moments of rest. There is beauty in time spent sharing sunflower seeds with the neighbors. There is beauty in the fresh juice made from homegrown berries. There is beauty in the all-natural meals. There is beauty in the wrinkled and worn-out skin of the people of Moldova.
They deserve credit for their hard work, but they also deserve to be acknowledged for their beauty — a true beauty. The Moldovan people in the village are the hardest workers I know. They may not whistle while they work, but their smiles and joys showed me that they value their diligence and they will work until there is no more work to do.
Rachel Debner, Organizational Communication
On Friday, we ventured to the Butuceni Cave Monastery located approximately an hour outside of Moldova’s capitol city, Chisinau in the Orhei district. We traveled the bumpy and winding roads to our destination in a van. Our driver was kind and stopped the vehicle many times for unique photo opportunities. Once we arrived at the monastery, we explored a traditional Moldovan village house. We then hiked up to the distant monastery where we learned about the history and significance of the 600-year-old monastic home built into the ridge. Our group wore headscarves to show respect on the grounds of the monastery. We ate lunch while overlooking the gorgeous valley below and enjoying fun conversation.
Rachel Minske, UWEC Journalism Major
The Raut River Valley below wends its way past the Butuceni Cave Monastery. Monks still work the fields below by hand. Chi Ab Vang, Rachel Debner, Ginna Roe, Rachel Minske and Jan Larson show their UW-Eau Claire pride. © 2013 Monika Hartsel
One of our many photo opportunities of the day, the Russian Orthodox church pictured in the distance struck us as beautiful. © 2013 Rachel Minske.
The monastery’s cathedral was under renovation when we visited. © 2013 Rachel Minske
A stone cross marks the spot of the original monastery. © 2013 Rachel Minske
Moldova women sell souvenirs along the pathway that connected the nearby village and the monastery. © 2013 Rachel Minske
Along the road to the Butuceni Cave Monastery, scenic overlooks offer a view of the Raut River valley and the village of Butuceni. © 2013 Rachel Minske
UWEC Communication and Journalism Students Ginna Roe, Rachel Debner, Rachel Minske and Chi Ab Vang; and faculty member Jan Larson on the steps to the Parcul Catedralei with the Arc de Triomphe and Moldovan flag in the background. The park has a 24-hour flower market along its borders and contains the city’s main orthodox cathedral and bell tower dating from 1836.
Take four CJ students, one faculty member and a former Peace Corps volunteer, add 50 pounds of cameras, tripods, audio recorders and lav mics, put them on an international flight and you have the makings of another immersion experience in the eastern European country of Moldova.
Since 2011, Jan Larson, associate professor of journalism, has been taking small groups of students to the former Soviet Republic of Moldova to engage in service, journalism and media research. From May 20-June 10, 2013, CJ students Rachel Debner, Rachel Minske, Ginna Roe and Chi Ab Vang are working with Larson and Monika Hartsel, a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent three years in the Moldovan village of Giurgiulesti. The team is continuing efforts to build Radio Giurgiulesti, an online radio station. See “Hitting the Airwaves” to learn about an earlier CJ trip to Moldova.
UW-Eau Claire student journalists run workshops training young villagers in the principles and practices of journalism. Organizational communication students help develop an adult advisory board designed to build long-term sustainability for Radio Giurgiulesti.
In addition, the journalists report and write about Moldovan social and cultural issues and help research public perceptions of Moldovan media credibility. This year, the team has added an additional research topic: Patterns of Rural to Urban Moldovan Migration. (Moldova has a struggling economy and many families endure separation because parents and young adults must leave the country to find work to support themselves and their families). We hope you will follow their adventures and enjoy their insights as they explore a new culture, conduct research and promote democracy in a changing nation.
Navigating the city
Americans need to learn more languages. We are spoiled that so many people speak English. Monika’s Romanian is a definite plus. She and Jan know the capitol city of Chisinau well enough to get us around. We spent much of the day just exploring the city center and getting our bearings. We watched men play chess in the park, visited an artist’s piazza and stopped to view the statue of Stefan Cel Mare, the Moldovan’s national hero. — Rachel Debner
Encountering new foods
Monika suggested we sample Moldovan fare at a local restaurant just off the main square. We tried mamaliga, a polenta-type dish with sheep’s cheese; sarmalia, a concoction of rice, spices and ground meat wrapped in cabbage or grape leaves and pelmeni, a type of ravioli pasta filled with either chicken, lamb, pork or onion and potato. We passed the plates and pronounced everything delicious. – Chi Ab Vang
As in many countries, public transport is a bit of a mystery that takes time to unravel. In Moldova, bus drivers pack vehicles beyond capacity. Road lanes appear to be a suggestion rather than a definitive boundary. This afternoon we boarded a bus for an experience that soon became comical – if not slightly iffy. A bus designed to hold about 15 passengers became a rolling sardine can packed with nearly 40 passengers. Every time the bus stopped to let one passenger off, two more boarded. Soon Ginna was crouched on the floorboards near the door trying to stay out of the way. Jan was clinging to the dashboard alternately trying to avoid falling into the driver’s lap and being launched through the windshield as the driver lurched and bounced along the rough road. Moldovans believe that moving air, such as breeze from an open window, otherwise known as the “current,” causes sickness. At one stop, a woman got on the hot bus and immediately rolled up the open window. The Moldovans thought nothing of it, but as Americans from UW-Eau Claire, we could only stifle our amazement and frustration. – Rachel Minske
Making new friends
As we were leaving the little Moldovan pizzeria where we had dinner, some young Moldovan men made eye contact and tried to flag us down. We waved and said a friendly, “Hello,” but were on our way, or so we thought. One of the young men chased after us. “Wait! Where are you from? We want to stay with you.” After we got over the initial shock of the statement we realized the young man was just eager to make friends and practice his English. After Jan vetted the group – which included a young woman, we spent the evening laughing, comparing stories and learning about Moldovan culture. Rachel Debner interviewed the group for her research on Moldovan migration patterns. —- Ginna Roe
Keep checking back for updates from the group!
By Karen Dahl
As graduation approaches, soon-to-be grads prepare for one of the most monumental days of their lives. With just less than a month left of my undergraduate career, I start to think about all of the people and the opportunities that guided me through the best four years of my life. Graduation is more than filling in bubbles on a degree audit, or checking off boxes to fulfill requirements. Graduation is a symbol of hard work, dedication, and motivation. All of these requirements and credits needed to graduate simply guide students, but the students have to take this initial push and go above and beyond the bare minimum requirements to ensure a purposeful undergraduate career.
Now, most of us recognize the importance of internships and becoming actively involved in extra-curricular activities. Certainly internships and extra-curriculars will sharpen confidence, professionalism, and a plethora of skills during college, but students must realize the simple opportunities and resources right under their noses. As a senior, I’d like to share some of the secrets to MY success in our very own CJ Department.
Relationships: The beauty of attending a smaller, division three university is that we have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships with not only our fellow CJ majors, but also with our CJ faculty. Professors are your best friends. This is not “sucking up” – this is a time to embrace maturity and have real, meaningful relationships with the people who are guiding you to a world of success. Prove to your professors that you are a motivated individual who is willing to learn and go above and beyond the requirements of their course curriculum. If you have questions, ask. If you need help, seek advice. If you are facing hardships in school (or even in your personal life) confide in your professors. Open relationships between faculty members and students are crucial to a successful college career.
Be Seen: As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This proves to be true in many cases as the job search is in full force and many seniors are turning to networking and connections for a foot in the door to the real world. How do you get to know people? Where do you start? This all goes back to my relationships tip, however if you want to be known, stick around the department. Make your face known. The people in your department are in the field in which you will be pursuing a career. Put yourself out there – become a representative for the department at events or become a student apprentice. What better way to make yourself known? Be present. Be available. Be seen.
Embrace Your Classes: Sure, we all have classes that we hate. But the classes in your major are IMPORTANT. Appreciate the information your professors are giving you. Appreciate the speakers, the field trips, the papers, and the group projects. Do your very best to learn about your desired field and improve your skills. Don’t just meet requirements to earn a grade. Appreciate the value of your education, and you will be successful.
Students have several different approaches to making the most of their undergraduate careers. These are the things that helped me through my four years of college. The CJ Department is filled with inspirational faculty, excellent courses and hard-working students. Take advantage of what is at your fingertips. When you consider your department faculty and classmates family, you have succeeded.
Dahl is a senior organizational communication major with a topical minor in event planning. She’s the station manager at WUEC-FM, the VP of Activities for the American Marketing Association and the VP of the Event Planning Association. Dahl hopes to pursue a career in communication consulting.
All 22 students in the CJ 321: Intermediate Journalism class attended the 16th annual Ann Devroy Memorial Forum on April 25, but they did much more than just partake of the reception buffet and listen to the speech by Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.
These students were “on assignment.” They took careful notes; interviewed students, faculty and journalists both before and after the speech; composed photos; and recorded voiceovers — all so they could produce a multimedia website covering every aspect of this year’s Devroy Forum, as you can see here. And for the first time in CJ Department practice, they produced a pdf-based website that is optimized for viewing on iPads, iPhones, iPods and iMacs, although it looks great on other mobile devices and PCs, too.
CJ 321 instructor Mike Dorsher said he made this assignment with two things in mind: There’s no better way to learn about journalism than by doing journalism, and mobile devices are becoming the newspapers of the 21st century. Apple has already sold 100 million iPads, and 23 percent of UWEC’s undergraduates already own iPads, with 66 percent owning smart phones, according to a random sample survey (with a 6 percent margin of error) conducted this semester by Dorsher’s CJ 303: Research Methods for Journalists class.
“Our students are learning to produce the news they want on the devices they use,” Dorsher said. “This isn’t their parents’ and grandparents’ newspaper anymore.”
We learned the inside scoop on what’s going on in the 2013 Devroy Fellow’s life. The prestigious award is given in honor of journalist Ann Devroy and includes perks any journalism student would love. Here’s what she had to say:
Question: Congrats on winning the Devroy fellowship! What was your initial reaction?
Answer: Complete shock and downright happiness. I remember thinking, “shut up!”
When did you decide journalism was for you? Was there a specific moment it clicked?
I’ve always found the news to be fascinating, fast-paced and exciting. There was never an ‘a-ha!’ moment—I just always knew that this was what I was going to do. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
Do you see Ann Devroy as a leader in the journalism realm? How has she inspired you?
Ann Devroy was very much a leader in the industry. I’m inspired by her fierce reporting, standard of excellence and her devotion to family and friends.
All right, we have to ask. How do you cure writer’s block?
Haha! Who has time for writer’s block when you’re constantly on deadline?!
Your resume is completely full. And you’re only a junior. Where does this motivation come from?
I was taught from a young age that if you work hard, anything is possible. That is so incredibly true. I’ve decided to create my own destiny and I understand that the only person responsible for my happiness and my success is me.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time outdoors. I love hiking and backpacking. I’ve recently become a certified scuba diver, which is terrifying and thrilling at the same time.
What’s up next, Miss Rachel? Tell us your summer plans!
In a couple weeks, I’ll be traveling to Moldova with Jan Larson [CJ faculty member] and a few other journalism and organizational communication representatives. I’ll be teaching journalism to middle school and high school students! I’ll also have time to do some reporting on the on-going conflict between the Moldovan government and the free press. When I return to the Midwest, you can find me on the golf course.
By Kevin Hunt
The job title you will have 15 years after graduating from UW-Eau Claire may not even be a job that exists today.
How’s that for a reality check?
No one actually said that to me during my time on campus – and it may not be true for everyone – but I think it’s actually kind of inspiring for current Blugold students to think about.
I ran into that during a course correction in my career, as journalism began the early stages of its remarkable shift still underway today.
After receiving the great guidance of Henry Lippold and Brent Pickard in my “Update News” days, I set out to build a career in TV news, producing newscasts at WEAU-TV, WFRV-TV and KSTP-TV for 12 years.
It was demanding and challenging, but also fun. However, despite thriving on daily adrenaline shots of breaking news and some talented co-workers around me, something happened on my path to becoming a news director somewhere. The daily stress was getting to me.
So in 2005, I made a decision that I had tried to talk myself out of for a few years – it’s not easy to turn away from a job you thought you’d always do – when I entered the “dark side” of corporate communications by joining the PR team at Thomson Reuters, Legal.
I now view that difficult decision as a lesson in perfect timing, because of the emergence of social media. As it took off, it opened my eyes to the new opportunities online for journalists shifting to PR and the corporate world.
In my new role, I watched how other companies were responding to the social media revolution. Many started blogging about their company news, in addition to pitching reporters the way they always had. We decided to launch a blog for Thomson Reuters, focusing on telling our own stories about the company, its people and customers.
Those true “early days” in social media were great to be a part of in a big business. It was a learning-by-doing approach on so many things.
I was fortunate to move to General Mills in 2010 to build their company blog and corporate social media program, engage on and offline with reporters, bloggers and consumers, to help determine the company’s next steps in social media, and keep an eye on the trends that will shape it in the years ahead.
Today, I’m part-journalist, part-PR specialist, part-marketer and part-consumer services representative, and more.
My days are filled with interviewing, writing, planning editorial calendars, shooting and editing video, taking and editing photos, posting updates to a variety of social networks, monitoring and responding to what people are saying about General Mills online, interacting as the voice of the company when and where it makes sense, and guiding new projects to showcase company news and information in a social world.
My job title – “Social Media Manager” – was certainly not in any college career guide that I saw.
But I am grateful that the journalism and business experience I gained at every step of my career, from UW-Eau Claire to today, prepared me for the role I have with a great company like General Mills in our hyper-connected culture.
It’s certainly been interesting to see many companies thriving in social media with former journalists contributing content or managing social media projects.
In the years ahead, there will of course be more new technology and platforms to learn, new ways of connecting and new ways of reporting and sharing stories.
No matter what career path you start out on, be open to going in a different direction.
Kevin Hunt manages editorial content, social media engagement and digital strategy for the Global Communications department at General Mills in Minneapolis. His responsibilities also include social media guidance for the company’s brands and employees. Prior to joining General Mills, he managed social media for the Legal division of Thomson Reuters. He graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Broadcast Journalism major in 1994. He produced newscasts at WEAU-TV and WFRV-TV before spending 10 years as a producer and executive producer at KSTP-TV. Hunt lives in Farmington, Minn., with his wife Tami (UW-Eau Claire, 1994) and their three children – C.J. (16), Josie (13) and Jarrett (13).) He blogs and podcasts about social media at StrungOutOnShinyObjects.com and is @kevin_hunt on Twitter.
By Rachel Vick
Do you ever find yourself letting your thoughts run wild? Do you find your opinions getting limited to a 140-character tweet? Or rather, do you keep them inside, and let only yourself hear your views and ideas?
When was the last time you just wrote – not for a class? Writing in communications is one of the single most important skills to have, whether you are in public relations, journalism, advertising, and more. The first thing employers will ask for upon looking at your resume is a collection of different writing samples.
Writing for a blog can give you an extra edge and put you ahead of the competition. Not only can it enhance your writing skills, but also employers can also see your personality shine through. Employers definitely want to see you in your writing, and press releases don’t always show that. When your personality shines through, employers can get a better feel for who you are as a person and an employee!
Blogger Jeff Bullas covered a study done by All Academic Research, which revealed what people blog about:
Internal topics, which deliver blogger’s revelations on:
- Experience and work
- Relationship with friends and family
- Intimate feelings
External topics such as:
- Comments on politics
- Public events
If you find yourself with running thoughts and no outlet, use a blog to express yourself. The Communication and Journalism’s Department blog is a great way to start. You never know what you could accomplish personally as well as professionally!
Vick is a mass communication – public relations major and a web design minor. She hosts a weekly radio show called Blugold Radio on WUEC 89.7 FM and manages the chapter blog for PRSSA. She also interns at Strategic Communications in social media and media relations.