After graduation, my goal is to find a job related to journalism, whether it is writing for a traditional newspaper like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or finding my niche in newer online publications. My coursework over my course of studying Communication at Carroll University will go a long way toward making this goal a reality.
The ethics papers that I used as artifacts for Learning Outcome 1 will provide an excellent foundation of knowledge and critical thinking that will allow me to navigate the many ethical issues reporters face with more confidence. Rather than making a decision based on instinct if there is ever a question of whether I should print someone’s name in an article for example, I can apply theories learned from this course to come to a more thought out and informed decision.
The newspaper feature used as an artifact for learning outcome 2 simultaneously developed my reporting technique and my competence in sensitive communication with diverse others. Both of these skills will be crucial for every assignment in my career where I will certainly be going out in to the community, talking to diverse groups of people about sensitive subjects, whether the subject involves talking to voters about politics or talking to parents whose child died in a car accident. Then I will need to return to the office and continue this sensitivity as I write the piece, skillfully and intentionally weaving quotes and details together in a way that respects all subjects and provides balanced coverage.
Regardless of the kind of reporting I end up doing, I will be doing research in some form, even if it is just confirming the address of a community event. Much of the research reporters do doesn’t involve scholarly sources of course, but the systematic approach used for my senior thesis will undoubtedly be put in to practice in my career as a reporter where it will be essential to stay calm under deadline pressure while pursuing leads, researching facts and writing the story in a clear, systematic way.
With all the changes the journalism field is undergoing, it is essential for reporters to have a diverse skill set. For example, in addition to being a strong writer, it is also beneficial to have broadcasting skills to create videos, or basic photography skills to take photos at a scene. The skills developed by my practice in oral communication will give me the confidence not only to pursue broadcast journalism or video tape interviews with people to post online alongside the print story, but also allow me to project confidence and skill when interviewing sources, whether the interview is recorded or not.
While I highlighted writing from Society and Mass Media to demonstrate my academic growth in terms of conveying written messages, all of the Communication classes I have taken have contributed to my growth in this area. Before studying Communication at Carroll University, I would write without thinking. If it sounded good, I went with it but never really examined my writing critically. But with each Communication course at Carroll University, I have gradually become more conscious about my writing, doing my best to incorporate quotes and write sentences with intention, then read the sentence again to see if it could be phrased more concisely. This critical view of my writing will be a valuable skill to have as a reporter, especially these days when newspaper space is limited and I will need to make my point accurately but concisely.
My growth in the area of conveying written messages has been the most evident to me because writing has always been something that I naturally enjoyed anyway. But I have also noticed growth in my communication competence as a whole. In every conversation I have, whether in class or not, I consider whether I am communicating my message clearly and effectively, rather than just saying whatever comes to mind without any thought as I often did before studying Communication at Carroll University. When I encounter a conflict, I ask myself “what could be the cause of this conflict?” Whereas before studying Communication, I may have blamed the conflict on the other person’s faults or incompetence, I now recognize that often these conflicts are the result of poor communication. Recognizing that the conflict is the result of poor communication means that I can now resolve the conflict more assertively and constructively.
Given the diverse skill set now demanded by the nature of the economy today, all of these skills–the skills directly learned through the artifacts in this portfolio as well as the subtle nuances of skillful communication that I picked up over the years of study–will benefit me immensely in any career path, even if I never land a job as a reporter or if I land a job where Communication isn’t in the title. Communication is a continuous never-ending part of human life. Thus, wherever my career path leads, I have no doubt that the skills I learned over the course of study at Carroll University will be applicable.