The traits of young (and old) journalists

This fall at Carolina, I’m teaching two courses, Feature Writing and Media Hub. (The Word doc syllabi are here. The course numbers are 356 and 625.)

Each class I ask students to fill out a form about themselves to help me find out what they’re interested in, what they expect out of the course, and how I can help them. I’ve learned that the better I know the writer, the more specialized my teaching is.

My feature writing course is traditionally filled with students who want to be writers — makes sense as the course is 100 percent about writing. This semester, though, I’m delighted to find that I have a good mix of students who aspire to be writers, broadcasters, photographers, lawyers, politicians and teachers. (Teachers have said for years that if you can write clearly, concisely and with style, you’ll be able to work anywhere.)

I also ask them to describe themselves in one word. Here’s what the feature writing students said: optimistic, determined, enthusiastic, empathetic, growing, anxious, thoughtful, adaptable, ambitious, friendly, outspoken, composed, curious and willful. Four students described themselves as passionate, and two said determined.

Things they don’t like: canned tuna, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, mayo and hot coffee. Multiple people said they don’t like math.

So, to sum up: They are passionate, determined, outspoken, curious and willful. The don’t like math or fruits or vegetables. Yep, they sounds like journalists.



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