One of our talented students, Donna Saboori, is a teen writer for The Reading Eagle. In the interview below, she explains her experience with journalism and how it has contributed to her education.
1. How were you approached about this opportunity?
My local newspaper, The Reading Eagle, placed an advertisement looking for new teen writers for their “Voices” section. I also knew of some other teens that wrote for the section and thought it was a great opportunity. I applied in August, and became a writer in September.
2. Did the employees at the newspaper ask you to write about a specific topic, or were you able to choose your own topic? What did that process look like?
Every month, the writers are encouraged to attend a “Voices” meeting at The Reading Eagle headquarters. We are given a list of possible stories that we can offer to cover. Writers are also encouraged to find stories on their own. Whether a writer prefers to report on current news, book reviews, or pop culture, there is a story for everyone!
3. What was the editing process for your articles? Were you asked to submit multiple times? Who were you working with?
Every article has a due date. Once I submit my story, it goes through an editing process. My editor is Stacie Jones, editor of the “Voices” section of The Reading Eagle. I do not resubmit articles, but instead she may cut out unimportant information.
4. What are the biggest differences you found in writing for journalistic purposes and class purposes (essays, research papers, etc.)?
One big difference I have discovered between journalistic and classroom writing is the format of the writing. In articles for the newspaper, the writing is short and concise. In my articles, I interview teens and adults that can offer information or an opinion for my story. In school writings, I am encouraged to cite sources from a book or website and use a five paragraph format.
5. What role did your prior writing experience play in helping you become published in the newspaper? What was it like to finally see your article in the newspaper?
My prior writing experiences played a role in my being published because I learned how to make interesting introductions to a story that would draw readers in. I also had to adapt to writing in a different genre. The editors helped me condense writing and keep information precise.
6. Is journalism something that you would be interested in for your future? Is it a career path that you had considered prior to this experience?
Journalism was a career path I thought about before the experience. It has been a great experience, and I think it would make a very exciting career path. I’m interested in a lot of careers though, so I am not sure if it is the one I will choose in the future.
7. For any other students interested in writing, would this be something you would suggest they seek out? Do you feel as though it has helped you improve as a writer?
I strongly suggest that students interested in writing become active in a newspaper. It is a great experience and helps me improve my writing. I’ve been given the opportunity to write about events and interview people about their opinions and experiences.