Day one was an interesting start to Hofstra’s Journalism Program. We got to hear an actual Newsday reporter (Mario!) speak about his job, what it entailed, and what the requirements were to succeed in such a cut throat environment. One very specific thing I learned was the adaptability and versatility needed to be a journalist. As Maria Shriver once said, you don’t just wake up one morning as Katie Couric or Tom Brokaw. It takes consistent effort and continuous drive; You start from the bottom and work your way up, doing every job necessary. You have to be able to roll with the punches and more importantly, be able to improve upon your own skill while doing so simultaneously. If your the type of person who likes a set routine every day of the week, this job, my friend, is not for you.
Day Two was more hands on, which I liked. We had a press conference with John McNally of the Rauche Foundation and were told to write a story after hearing him speak about the need for reform in Long Island. I liked the independent work and the ability to pull from numerous sources, both online and from quotes written down during McNally’s lecture. While I can’t wait for the time when we actually get to write about topics which we chose, this exercise allowed us to get the feel of what a real Journalist’s job is like — writing and reporting on topics in your local area. I also appreciated the time we had — It takes me a long time to completely figure out the angle of my story and to research facts which support the perspective. The time allowed me to do that, however I don’t know if the AC is turned up as high as it is to keep our minds sharp (they do that in jail you know) but it really didn’t help the whole ‘thinking process’
Day Three was interesting, we’re moving closer to asking questions and reporting which makes this entire process that much more interesting. It was fascinating to hear about the amount of money involved in Long Island schools, and the sheer state each of the districts are in. What I found particularly, err, saddening was the fact that schools which generally has less funding are having more and more money cut from their annual budgets through decreasing state aid (compared to wealthier school districts who are having less and less cut from their school districts). The tax cap in itself I feel is an idea that must be implemented to see the results, the fact that in California scores dropped and in Massachusetts scores rose just supports the idea that this cap has no definite impact; it essentially remains to be seen. My opinion on the cap is varied. I know how difficult it is to pay the property taxes on Long Island, they go through the roof. Although the effect on schools is regrettable, with the current state of the economy and the increasing amount of foreclosures, its impossible for one to expect Long Island homeowners to be okay with a sometimes 5% increase on taxes. While we need reform for education, increasing taxes on homeowners who are already under immense strain, is not the answer.
(John Hildebramd, senior education writer at Newsday)
Day Four was better! We learned about the art of interviewing, which was something I thought would be very easy, but turned out to be rather complicated! I didn’t know the amount of thought and precision needed to fully obtain information from authority figures, from having a friendly tone of voice to pausing in appropriate places, it takes a lot of work! I also learned the importance of confidence. No one is going to listen to you unless you fully sound like you know what your talking about, and persistence along with a sort of amiability is key. Eye contact plus proper follow up questions (Listening) is is necessary. Next we got to work, writing down questions and assigning them to appropriate authority figures. Superintendents, Tax Cap supporters, business owners. An interesting thing I found with Gov. Cuomo’s plan is the idea that spending needs to decrease overall; Not just with the tax cap but also with the superintendents salaries. Hmmmmmmmm….