I think you have to approach the MIT/Harvard/Emerson part of the Fellowship with the greed to learn. Unless you feel greedy for knowledge, it will all get a bit overwhelming – which it does at time still. But luckily, for most of March I was excited to pick up whatever skills I could.
I produced two audio stories in March for my Digital Journalist class at Emerson. And while I was mildly proud at just completing my assignment I was floored by what all the students taught me when I heard their assignments. Students were so good with the technical aspects of audit reporting, their pitch and tenor was so perfect, and their SOTs perfectly timed. I was also really grateful to use a recording room for the first time, to record my voice over for the story. It made such a different to the quality of the story.
I love all the big things I am learning but I also really appreciate these small details – I genuinely didn’t believe a recording room would make as much of a difference as it did, until I used it myself.
I also shot a video story for the class, and I wrote a script for it, but truth be told I have been a bit tied up and I haven’t yet had time to edit it – hopefully by next month I will edit it and share it on the blog!
For my Humanitarian Innovation class, we had another project that seemed like a huge undertaking at the start but somehow, through teamwork, we persisted and managed it. We were tasked with budgeting and setting up a refugee camp and it made me realize two opposing things: the first that there is no simple decision for aid workers, every decision is nerve wracking, and second that it’s uncanny how much power aid workers have over thousands of lives.
The placement of schools, bathrooms, water pumps, streetlights, etc in refugee camps makes all the difference. Even misplacing one streetlight can take your camp from being safe to unsafe and affect thousands of lives.
In any academic setting students tend to worry if they made the right choice with their courses. This is a fear I also had. But I think I made the right choices. In all my classes I am picking up skills that I will use in my reporting in the future – whether it’s how to scrape and clean data, or how to ethically decide what photos must be used with a story (we had a long debate in our Audience Engagement class about displaying photos of war-struck children in newspapers) – everything is helping me grow as a journalist!
Next month, I will tell you all about how I have been given an opportunity to teach a journalism class at Emerson!