Learning Outcome 2
This learning outcome required demonstration of sensitive communication with diverse others.
One of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding responsibilities of being a journalist is the duty to be neutral. For example, no matter how vehement one’s personal political views are, when covering politics, one must keep opinions to oneself and give a balanced report of both sides. I received an excellent opportunity to practice this in COM275, the Feature Writing course I took in Fall 2010. This was the semester of the midterm election that elected Scott Walker as Governor.
Given how contentious this election was, especially over balancing Wisconsin’s budget, I thought it would be interesting to write a newspaper feature about this election. To get perspectives and quotes for my story, I called the Chairs of the local democratic party and the republican party and stood on the sidewalk outside the campus center which was a polling site and did exit polls as people walked out.
This assignment required sensitivity in that some people did not feel comfortable discussing their political opinions with me. Others had different political views than I did. Both of these situations required me to conduct myself professionally by not arguing with them, and required me to be mindful when writing the article that I did not insert any of my personal opinions. In addition, while many stories I have written in the past involved interviews of my peers or of professors I knew, this assignment gave me the chance to branch out and talk to members of the larger community. This chance to interact with new people with different political views has definitely made me a more confident communicator and given me a greater appreciation for listening to both sides of an issue. Both of these skills will serve me well long after college. Even if I cannot be a reporter right away, I will encounter a diverse mix of people who may have different views than I do anywhere I work. Even if I am not quoting them for a newspaper story, I will have to conduct myself respectfully and professionally around them, so this is an excellent skill to develop, no matter where my career track leads.