New Albany News

Guest column

Shadowing local journalist proves eye-opening

On the second day of shadowing ThisWeek reporter Lori Wince, when asked where I had parked, I replied the exact same stall as the day before, and proposed my reasoning to be that I am a creature of habit.

Wince chuckled and explained that there is no such thing as being a creature of habit when you are a reporter.

Each day of my "internship" shadowing Wince was different and unpredictable, just like each day in the world of a reporter.

We might be headed to the Pataskala City Hall, to which I would expect we would take a certain route, and Wince would turn to drive down a narrow side street in order to give me a different perspective.

Wince explained to me that she is always on the lookout for something new or interesting that people would like to know, such as a new chief in the police department or even a sign in someone's yard expressing disgust with the government.

Wince provided me many different opportunities to see the wide spectrum of journalism.

I sat in on one of ThisWeek's weekly planning meetings, where I was forewarned not to go into the business for the money.

Though this threat was at first intimidating, I was pleasantly surprised to be told by many about their love for what they do.

Whether reporting, editing, managing layouts or doing any step in between, each person plays a vital role in getting important or uplifting information out to the communities that can bring them together.

On my first day, I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet New Albany's current interim police Chief Greg Jones.

Through trial and error, I experienced the difficulty of taking notes during an interview. Even though I was not conducting the interview myself, keeping up was a struggle that proved to be quite different than taking notes half asleep at school, as I was forced to be constantly engaged.

Wince's article concerning this interview was featured in the April 3 edition of the ThisWeek New Albany News, to which I was able to compare my notes and see which key phrases Wince pulled in order to highlight Jones' hard work and commitment to our community.

Jones' line of work could also be compared to a journalist because communication, mainly body language, allow both to determine whether or not the interviewee is telling the truth or if they could possibly have more vital information.

Also present at the interview was city spokesman Scott McAfee.

McAfee provided interesting insight on another aspect of journalism: the people on the other side of the interview that are dealing with the media.

He said reputation is of key importance for reporters, and this reputation is only built up by treating citizens with respect when obtaining information.

This lesson came much easier, because I had been taught that Golden Rule since before I could spell my own name.

My future tends to worry me, as it does most people. As I mentally prepare myself to attend journalism classes in the fall, the idea of messing something up that would be published blows my mind.

Wince gave me the chance to ask some of those questions that rattle my bones, such as misquoting someone in an article. Upon hearing my question, Wince politely horrified me by explaining that it is essentially the worst thing a journalist could do.

In addition, I was given the opportunity to tour the police stations of both New Albany and Pataskala.

The police stations are very important to local journalists, as public records laws allow them access to just about any police report.

I was pleased to realize that New Albany is blessed with such a kind police force and a properly equipped station.

I am honored to have the chance to see certain aspects of our wonderful community from a different point of view: that of a spontaneous and devoted reporter.

Though I may still be a high school student and a creature of habit, the experience transformed me from an average student to a, well, slightly less average student with some hefty journalist tips of the trade in her back pocket.

Amanda Moline is a New Albany High School senior.

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