My senior project showed me my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing and reporting. For my project, I chose to write a combination of two hard news articles and two features articles. I chose this topic not only because of my love of writing and storytelling, but also because I love the processes of reporting and interviewing—which this project allowed me to do. This project required me to work the entire semester beginning with choosing what I wanted to write about and what angles I wanted to tell the stories from. I began my project by doing some research on topics I was interested—which proved to be a more difficult part of the project. I’ve always struggled with coming up with story ideas and topics to write about from a news or features angle, so solidifying what I wanted to write about was a bit difficult. The ultimate goal of this project was to produce four quality newspaper-style articles that would prepare me for a career in reporting and/or journalism. Before starting this project, I set a goal of going out of my comfort zone—something that I did by interviewing and choosing topics that were outside of what I typically write about. Some more general goals of the project were to learn how to write following AP style guidelines and learning how to write in a more traditional newspaper-article format.
Now that I’ve completed the project, I can confidently say my senior project was so much more than simply writing. I learned how to write in a way that appeals to readers of news and report in an unbiased manner that focuses on solely reporting the truth. I learned how interview professionals both in and outside of Sonoma State University—something I did not have experience in prior to the project. Even though some of the interviews were purely information and I didn’t use all the quotes from each person I met with, each interview was still valuable to how I told my stories.
This project forced me to go out of my comfort zone by researching and reporting on things outside of my university and in my local community, something that was truly enjoyable and a valuable learning experience. I learned how write on sensitive topics and topics that affected a large scale of people, not just Sonoma State students. I learned how prepare for interviews with professionals as well as students and ask the right questions that would help me write factual, compelling articles.
Another aspect of my project in addition to writing news/features articles was creating an online website or portfolio where I could showcase articles I’ve written for the Sonoma State Star student-newspaper and in internships outside of Sonoma State. Creating a website showed me the importance of technology in preparing for the professional world. Prior to creating the website, I had little to no knowledge of web design—which made the process initially very difficult. To create the website, I used WordPress and over the course of five months I developed the website and uploaded every article I’ve written onto the website, which was very tedious.
Creating an online portfolio allowed me to reflect on what I’ve learned in and outside of the classroom while in college. I was able to see how I’ve improved in my writing over the past 4 years and what I still need to improve upon. As I created my website, I looked for inspiration in how other young people designed their professional website and how other journalists and media professionals designed theirs. That proved to be very helpful because I was able to design my online portfolio in a unique but professional way. Creating a website ultimately showed me the importance of having an online presence in the professional world and I was also able to learn how to use WordPress and other software programs.
This project allowed me to show creativity in what I wrote about and how I wrote my articles—and that was the main part of my creative process of the project. I was able tell the stories in a way that allowed me to express my creativity while staying true to the article’s focus and the truth. I chose to write four articles ultimately because of my interest and passion for writing and because of past classes I’ve taken that helped me develop the goal of being a journalist and writer. Some roadblocks and weaknesses I experienced in the project began when I tried to come up with topics to write about. Coming up with things to write about that are both interesting and relevant has always been a struggle of mine, so I was able to overcome that in this project. Once I had concrete topics to write about, I began the research and interviewing process—which I’ve always considered strengths of mine. Once I had all my information and interview transcripts, I wrote my articles, which was definitely the easiest part of the project. Writing has always come easy to me and so the actual writing process was simple and the least time consuming aspect of my senior project.
As far as the target audiences of my senior project, I would say my audiences include college students, young people and all people in general. Though some of the topics of my articles concern college students—I believe they are still of interest of the general public. I planned to have my project be successful by writing in a way that not only interests readers, but encourages them to do something positive or make a change after reading my stories. As I completed this project, I tried to keep my target audiences in mind, so I could successfully produce quality news and features articles.
Ultimately I consider this project something I can use when searching for employment because each article I wrote shows my strengths and weakness. The articles I’ve wrote are a representation of what I’ve learned in college. I’ve spent the last two years learning and developing my skills in AP style, newswriting and how to write in a compelling, unbiased way—which can be seen in my articles. I believe the online portfolio/professional website I created as part of this project will be extremely helpful when looking for a job because it shows all my experience and published work in one place. This project served as an opportunity to learn what I am good at and what I need to improve upon. Throughout the semester working on this project, I was able to solidify what I want to do in life—writing, whether for print, digital or broadcast media, I know I want to write in a career. This project helped me form goals after college, which is invaluable as a college senior preparing to graduate.
This project showed me what I want to do in life and whether I have what it takes to have successful career in media, journalism, communications, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed completing this project because of what I was able learn and discover about my profession goals and hopes for the future.