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SJI Closing Thoughts

SJI comes to a close Sunday, and here’s one of my (if not the last) blog post for the site

I can’t believe it’s been a week already–or in two hours it will have been. I’ve learned so much this week and met so many great people that it’s hard to fit everything into a final blog post that will be easy to read. I’ll start off with the lessons I’ve learned. In the classroom, one thing has always been stressed–preparation. With preparation, any game–no matter how short the deadline–is doable. But without preparation and without knowledge of history or current events, even the easiest story and the longest deadline can turn out sloppy and incredibly dry, and most likely difficult to write. So preparation is everything, and you can never prepare enough. The second most important thing I learned is to be flexible, whether that’s changing your lede and theme of the story or adjusting to changes in time of the game or location of the game to what platform of journalism you want to do. Being flexible is extremely important, and Stephen Buckley, the dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, told us that today–definitely invaluable advice.

I’ve picked up other tips and things along the way about how to market myself, how to become a better candidate, what to expect from my first job, and more. The lion’s share of what I took away, however, was inspiration, and learning from those experienced in the field who have become my mentors this week. Meeting Victoria Lim–a multi-platform female Asian journalist whom I talked about in my last post–has been a special experience for me, and just listening to people like Leon Carter and Sandy Rosenbush, our co-directors and co-founders, has been really helpful, and they’ve told us interesting and raw real life stories. Just from being with the students in the class, I’ve learned so much and have been so inspired to work harder and to better prepare. Yes, the class groans when someone says we have a Sports Check, but those tests have made me read the news more carefully and stay updated on everything that’s happening. I might not know all the details–still working on that part!–but I definitely know the situation, and knowing those tidbits of information help immensely when working on the next story, especially when covering multiple games in a series. And the students, they encourage me to work harder and to ask more questions. It’s great being in this situation, being surrounded by people who are interested in what I’m interested in, and who want to learn the same things from speakers that I do (the first time I’ve experienced this!).

This week has been amazing, and I’ve gotten so much more out of SJI than I would ever have thought before I came to St. Petersburg. My first time in Florida has been unbelievable, and honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way–not even if my first time in the state could have been for a trip to Disney World.


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