I find stories everywhere I look. For example, during the Fall of 2017 I worked with two DECA students to create a PSA for their Public Relations project. After hearing what their project was, I instantly knew this was the perfect story to cover.
First, I pitched the idea of covering Operation Puzzle Piece to my adviser who agreed this was news-worthy. Then, I scheduled interviews with Sophie Koritz and Josie Kleinheider. From there, I decided I needed to get another perspective on the project; therefore, I interviewed Judy Obermark. She is one of the advisers for the Life Skills students who are directly impacted by Operation Puzzle Piece.
After my interviews, I needed to slate and log the footage to determine which soundbites would be used. This helped me write the script and determine where voice overs and b-roll would fit. B-roll was not a problem for this story. The girls had taken plenty of pictures throughout this whole journey, and the Life Skills students were always thrilled for me to film; they loved being movie stars!
Editing this story on Final Cut was enjoyable. Even though I had a lot of footage to cut down, I was able include the key concepts of their project and its impact upon Life Skills students. Seeing this story come together gave me a feeling of accomplishment and pride.
This is just one example of how I find and tell stories. Sometimes, as in this case, it's being in the right place at the right time. A good reporter, however, has to keep an open mind. There are other BJJTV staff members who would have been on the PSA with the DECA students, and not seen the potential there was for a full feature package. I work hard to be the person who sees potential for stories everywhere.
Another way I find stories is by simply listening to the conversations that are taking place all around me. As my senior year kicked off, I couldn't help but hear many students express their frustrations with the fact that WHS bathrooms were often closed due to vandalism. I also heard some students had their personal property vandalized and damaged. Some of my peers had even taken to social media posting photos of their damaged vehicles. This story was almost begging to be told.
I knew that I wanted to give a voice not just to the students who were impacted by these acts, but also to our custodial staff. Dave Wells is one of the janitors at WHS. Both students and teachers love Dave's warm, inviting personality. I suspected that vandalism made his job harder, but I didn’t realize all of the different forms of vandalism that take place on campus, as well as how he has to shuffle around his whole daily schedule to deal with it.
I also interviewed a few students who are affected by the bathrooms being closed due to vandalism. They were clearly annoyed by it. Additionally, I interviewed a student who had her personal property damaged. She had a story to share as well.
Simply by being observant and listening to my peers, this story came to life. Vandalism impacts everyone at our school and has been the subject of many conversations, complaints, and social media posts. To be a good news gatherer, it is important to be in tune with what issues the general public in the community you serve is facing. I strive to stay in touch with the people I serve as a journalist.