A preview of the future of journalism

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, May 31st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

AUDIO: They say it’s your birthday / We’re gonna have a good time / I’m glad it’s your birthday / Happy birthday to you

So we all chipped in and got the Beatles to sing to ya!

REICHARD: They’re my favorite! Oh yeah.

EICHER: So happy birthday, this is great!

REICHARD: Me, and Clint Eastwood. We share the day, ya know!

EICHER: That was fun. But before we go today, I’d like for you to hear a few more of our excellent students this year from World Journalism Institute.

For the past two weeks, Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, has hosted us and we’re grateful.

I should say, Dordt has hosted not just many of the WORLD team, but also 28 students from all over the country, and Mary, let me tell you, they have been hard at work: editing, interviewing, writing, recording, and taking a lot of constructive criticism … and as you’ll hear, maybe doing it all on a bit of a growing sleep deficit?

But our colleague Paul Butler popped into a classroom yesterday and asked several students to reflect on what they’ll be taking home when we pull up stakes tomorrow morning.

Let’s listen.

VENCE: My name is John Vence. I’m a Liberty University graduate. I was really surprised these past two weeks because I was given the same information I learned at school, but it was painted in a very different light. We talked about nut grafs again. We talked about getting good pull quotes. But we also talked about looking at a news story and analyzing it as a story—the four elements: protagonist, antagonist, a mission, and the obstacles. And that became very helpful for me to look for what makes a story newsworthy. And lack of sleep, but I think that’s more on me than anyone else. [Laughs]

REICHARD: That is awesome. And I’m also looking at the schedule from the last two weeks, Nick, and I see the students heard from a lot of different speakers and instructors either in person or via Skype.

I’m seeing of course you, as well as Marvin and Susan Olasky, you mentioned Paul Butler, but also J.C. Derrick, Kristen Flavin, and Sarah Schweinsberg from radio. Mindy Belz was there, Tim Lamer, who is WORLD Magazine’s editor, also Mickey McLean and Lynde Langdon from WORLD Digital. Lots of folks.

EICHER: Yes, and a special shout-out to Lee Pitts. He’s a professor here at Dordt and he’s associate dean for World Journalism Institute. He does absolutely everything logistically around here for WJI, in addition to the teaching load he carries.

But everyone pitches in to work with the students. And that gives them a chance to learn from a wide variety of journalists and work with different types of media. The hope here is that they’ll get a feel for all of the different media forms.

REICHARD: Digital, print, radio. Lots to learn about. And, here are some more student voices. I think you’ll hear that they really took in the different media platforms.

AGUIRRE: Hi, my name’s Hailey Aguirre and I’m a recent graduate from Providence Christian College. I’ve heard a lot of new stories about international traveling that have been fascinating to me. I did not come expecting to hear people’s stories. How to do print journalism, radio journalism, photography, and video journalism. It just feels like we’re learning a little bit of everything.

ROBERTS: I’m Abigail Roberts and I just graduated from Taylor University and through WJI I’ve learned countless new things that my journalism program back at Taylor didn’t necessarily expose me to. One huge revelation was definitely radio, learning that radio is in many ways the new form of journalism and learning how to manage that medium clearly was an incredible learning experience through top reporters at WORLD.

Well, I can’t disagree with her. I do have a particular fondness for radio—not that I’m biased.

You know, it’s interesting, many Americans of all political and religious beliefs often talk about the media with frustration—and not without very good reason. The media are often synonymous with distrust and division.

But I bet you’re encouraged, year-in, year-out, to find journalism students who want to make a positive difference.

EICHER: Absolutely right. I can’t help but leave encouraged. Many of these young people want to go out and be truth-tellers. I think they are going to be good ones.

And here, let’s make time for one more.

HARRIS: I’m Hannah Harris and I’m a graduate of Covenant College and WJI has been really encouraging, just getting to learn from really talented journalists who want to tell truthful stories, but in a way that is redemptive and points to the hope of the gospel. It’s been really helpful to reconcile being a journalist and being a Christian and how being a Christian actually makes us better journalists and truth-tellers. I definitely think that this has helped me prepare even just how to think through difficult issues, how to use my Christian theology and how I don’t need to separate that in order to go do my work as a journalist. But how it’s actually going to help me even view the people that I interview with more compassion in telling their stories.

(Photo/World Journalism Institute)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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