Eric Price wasn’t quite sure what to expect when he got the assignment to cover city government from WBAT, Marion’s news/talk station, knowing reporters from the local daily paper and other media would be there.
“I had never worked with a radio outlet, but I was impressed as a writer to walk into the Marion City Council meeting and feel like a real member of the media,” said the Indiana Wesleyan University senior, a Journalism major. “Sitting by a reporter from the Chronicle-Tribune, it hit me that I can really do this – be a professional journalist.”
Price and his classmates in COM 483 “Advanced Newswriting and Reporting” came into the course with experience in student media, so Dr. Kyle Huckins, IWU Convergent Journalism coordinator and instructor for the course, took students to the next level: He arranged for them to cover stories for area professional news outlets.
“Practical experience is vital to landing a job in journalism,” Huckins said. “Being able to work with professional media gives IWU Journalism students a competitive edge when they start looking for their first full-time position.”
Students also wrote pieces for the Marion Chronicle-Tribune, the region’s major daily. David Penticuff, the paper’s editor, was thankful for students’ contributions.
“Working with the students is great because it gives us the chance to work with a lot of talented kids who bring a fresh perspective to our community,” he said.
One of the IWU students writing for the Chronicle-Tribune was junior Eric Stoff, a Journalism major. He wrote the lead story appearing in the paper’s entertainment section on a fall Sunday. The story highlighted local music groups, including bands from both the school and the community at large.
“Writing for a general-circulation newspaper was an eye-opening and encouraging experience as a communication student,” Stoff said. “The challenge of writing for a new audience was inspiring and an invaluable learning opportunity.”
Huckins said such work shows Convergent Journalism students that they can be world-changers even while in school.
“Journalists play a central role in influencing society’s view of major issues, policies and philosophies,” the professor reflected. “Bringing the Christian worldview to bear in reporting on such vital beats is a key way that believers can ensure the marketplace of ideas stays open to all.”