What I gained from my year on The Beat
July 16, 2013
By Sophie Mittelstaedt
Writing for The Beat this year taught me that journalism is very much a team effort. Earlier in the year, I approached it as an individual venture, but I quickly learned that is not the case.
Although articles are written independently, a huge portion of our success stems from our ability to work as a group. Showing up to meetings, brainstorming story ideas, working together, communicating well and fundraising are essential if we want to have a strong page. Over the course of the year, I have become a more active team member than when I started out, and this skill will aid me in other areas of life.
Since many of the articles I write feature students at Issaquah High School, I learned how to interview students to get the best information. I found that it often takes a couple of follow-up questions to get the right information for a specific topic. Since most teens lead busy lives, I realized that you should begin an interview way before the article’s due date, leaving time for a couple of follow-up questions if necessary.
Lastly, this year helped me understand the importance of communication. Occasionally, I forgot what direction we decided to take with an article. I learned that it is much better to reach out to other writers and clarify or ask questions than to guess at your assignment. In addition, I saw the importance of attending meetings and alerting the group if you can’t make it. Strong communication makes the group run more efficiently and makes you more reliable.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity. I have really enjoyed writing for The Beat this year and I hope to make next year even better!