23 Jul 2010 [ Prev | Next ]

4. Course Objectives

In short, the course is designed to give those students who are interested in working on The Setonian professional skills and leadership training.

More formally speaking, this course is intended to help meet New Media Journalism learning objectives 4, 5, 7, and 8.
  1. Examine a wide range of genres, styles and cultural literatures.
  2. Examine the traditional canon and innovative nontraditional writers and writing.
  3. Demonstrate analytical skills of reading literature.
  4. Demonstrate a high level of research and writing skills.
  5. Write and speak in a wide range of formats appropriate to major emphasis... 
  6. Speak and write about issues in the discipline and how they interact with the culture at large.
  7. Articulate the ongoing relation between personal habits of reading and writing and the evolving study of English.
  8. Produce a professional portfolio that demonstrates an awareness of and engagement with vital issues in an appropriate professional field relating to new media journalism.
So, what does all that mean?

LizStatueIPADSM.jpgThese goals are carefully chosen so that your Seton Hill education will, in the words of Elizabeth Ann Seton, "fit you for that world in which you are destined to live."

According to a survey published in 2009 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), here are the skills employers say they want in their new hires:
  1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical skills
(See also this brief NACE video, Job Outlook 2010)

Developing leadership skills in a student publication offers solid experience in each of the areas NACE highlights. EL200 is carefully designed to help you make a transition between high school (where your teacher tells you what questions to ask and praises you for supplying "the right answer") and the real world (where you have to compete for limited jobs, against all the other people who know "the right answer").

How will EL200 help you develop the skills that NACE says employers want in their new hires?

  1. Communication: Student journalists conduct oral interviews, edit, and write stories; editors run meetings and manage conflicts.
    • Most students will already have experience using social media (Facebook, Twitter, message boards) for social purposes, but employers will often want to see evidence that you can use those same tools for professional purposes.
    • If necessary, create separate accounts for your professional and personal lives, but don't post your secrets online -- keep them secret.
  2. Work Ethic: The Setonian is a student publication. As faculty adviser, I don't assign, proofread, censor or grade it.
    • The Setonian is published because students do the work themselves, to expand their horizons, to gain experience, and to serve their community.
    • When you accept a story or photo assignment, or proofread someone else's draft, or write a headline for someone else's story, other people are trusting you to follow through -- even though an authority figure won't be there every day to remind you of your obligations.
  3. Teamwork: While we normally think of writing fiction or academic essays as a solitary task, in the working world, managers are evaluated based on how well they can motivate others to meet deadlines and achieve goals. Working on the student paper is a good way to learn how to motivate your peers, outside of the structure of academic grades.
    • No single person can churn out The Setonian alone.
    • Showing an employer that you started as a cub reporter and then worked your way up through the ranks, to the point where others depend on your leadership, will make your application stand out.
  4. Initiative: How will working on The Setonian help you stretch your experience, preparing you for a position as a Setonian editor, for an off-campus internship, for your dream job?
    • Employers want people who want to work.
    • Recognize that every bit of work you do for The Setonian also helps you.
      • How would you feel if you worked hard on an article, and someone else made an error when typing the headline?
      • It happens... so come by before the paper is published, and make sure the headline is in good shape.
      • While you're there, check the other headlines on the rest of the page, or join the copy-editing staff.
    • Develop a positive attitude, and be part of the solution. Rather than thinking of your EL200 production work as a chore, think of it as a stepping stone to your own professional goals.
  5. Analytical Skills: In the real world, employers don't give you gentle hints that lead you to "the right answer," because the employer doesn't have a textbook with "the right answer" in the back. Analysis means breaking a complex process into parts, and sorting through the parts in a meaningful, useful way. (In the real world, your boss won't already know what "the right answer" is, so your boss won't give you gentle hints and partial credit for a good try. See #4, "Initiative.")
    • Advanced planning, an eye for detail, and a willingness to fail (so that you can learn from your mistakes and try again, more informed and more confident) are all part of analytical thinking.
    • Planning to avoid the problems you can foresee (what happens if my source doesn't return my call before my deadline?) and dealing with problems you can't foresee (the computers go down, or an event you planned to cover gets canceled) will give you crisis-management experience you can never get from a textbook. 


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