Journalism staffer compares broadcast, Hi-Line experiences

Senior year of highschool is typically the year where students can relax and leave their schedule open, with releases and study halls, or they can get the chance to try a class they’ve never had room for before! I decided my senior year to try out a class I had been interested in taking for a while, but just couldn’t fit into my schedule before. Journalism! To shake it up even more, instead of taking just one journalism class for the entire year, I ended up taking a semester of Broadcast Journalism and a semester as a writer for the Tiger Hi-Line in Journalism. While both classes fall under the same umbrella of journalism, they have some very distinct differences and are suited to very different kinds of people. I wanted to shed some light on the differences between the two as someone who has now experienced both, if only for a short time and partially online. 

Broadcast journalism involves a focus on technology that I found incredibly intriguing. As someone interested in theater tech and lighting design, using the cameras and editing software was right up my alley and very engaging. A smaller class in general, the community was close and collaborative and I spent a lot of time working with a partner to put together videos. If you’re someone who enjoys a quick response to an event and swift turnaround time on their article or video, I wouldn’t recommend Broadcast. Videos could take a while to film, and then even longer to import, splice, edit, and voice over. However, as someone who is a bit of a perfectionist, I absolutely loved having the time to really perfect my final product.

It was also great to learn how to properly use a camcorder, and how to be professional when entering a space you’re unfamiliar with and capturing it’s best moments. While some stories involved filming in a classroom or just filming doing a one on one interview, I had to learn how to operate in somewhere that was completely new. I went to film the Wartburg college symphony and actors in their production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, which taught me a lot about how to stealthily film without interrupting the musicians, and to be able to respond to what was going on onstage quickly in order to get the best shots.

I really had to conquer my fear of interviewing in this class, which is an essential skill to master and I know will help me in the future. Voicing over a video was also a hurdle for me, as hearing your own voice and creating your own script can be surprisingly intimate! It requires a certain amount of vulnerability to dig for good answers and personal stories for an interview, and to, quite literally, put your voice out there. 

Overall, it was a really great experience, and taught me both social and technical skills, as well as how to tell a story through images. My favorite thing was finally finishing a video, and putting in just a couple tweaks to really make it shine, it’s a very satisfying feeling and I would really recommend this class.

Newspaper journalism was my second semester class, and was also interrupted by coronavirus and moved online. Luckily, that was a bit of an easier move than Broadcast would’ve been. While both classes involve storytelling, the Hi-Line offers a chance for a more rapid output of stories and quicker response to relevant news, and puts writers on a weekly deadline. This was my greatest challenge, as putting out a new article that was current and relevant every week can be incredibly difficult, especially with lots of other writers also looking for current topics and events to write about at the same time. 

Journalism offered a new chance to use technology, in the form of laying out the pages of the paper online. Like Broadcast, this technical aspect was one of my favorite parts of the class. I can also see it being a really useful skill to advertise when looking for jobs, or just to put on a resume. On the writing side, the Hi-Line proved to be quite liberating compared to my usual English classes! I was told when I first started to throw what I’d learned about writing out the window. The journalism style is very different and comes with less rules, but definitely has a style that takes a while to get a handle on. Learning a new way to write turned out to be pretty difficult, but a fun break from how I was writing in my other classes.

One of my favorite things about writing for the Newspaper was the feeling of being more involved in both my school and my community. You have to keep yours eyes and ears open constantly to catch wind of a good new story idea, which meant I had to be more aware of what was going on around me at all times. You have to put yourself out of your comfort zone, and talk to people you normally wouldn’t talk to to get their side of a story, and keep in mind that what might be interesting news to you may not draw anyone else in when they see the title on a newspaper page. If you’re someone looking to be more involved in your school and meet new people, I’d say Hi-Line staff is the place for you. 

Lastly, my absolute favorite part of Journalism was the community, in both classes. If you’re someone who wants to meet all different kinds of people, both journalism classes would be a good fit. Collaborating with others in Broadcast and just the rambunctious friendly attitude of the whole class was invigorating and one of my favorite parts of the day. And the thoughtful and communicative environment with my other Hi-Line staff members was always nice to start the day off with, as we all worked at the tables together, and weekly pushed all the tables together to brainstorm new ideas and look over that week’s paper.

Journalism has taught me a lot this last year, and I’m glad I had the space to try both classes in my schedule. If you have any interest in either one, I know I can vouch for both me, my classmates, and Mr. Winkel when I say it’s a great endeavor to try out. 

 

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