How to Excel as a Staff Writer for The Chase

When beginning the fall semester at Eastern New Mexico University, I was not sure what a Journalism/PR Practicum class would be like. I had no clue that I would be doing hands-on writing for The Chase, which is ENMU’s online newspaper. All I knew was I needed to get the APA Style writing textbook. I quickly found that this textbook saves lives, so Tip 1 purchase or rent the APA writing style textbook.

The first week was simple, Rebecca Darrup introduced herself as our online newspaper editor, and David Silva introduced himself as our assistant editor. We all wrote a short autobiography article to start the semester, then jumped in strong writing articles about the events that had occurred throughout the semester. Darrup emailed our events that we needed to attend and write about every Tuesday.

Tip 2: Email the interviewee as soon as possible to give them time to respond and set up an interview date and time so there is enough time to interview and write the article before the due date.

Tip 3: If attending an event, make sure to check to see if attendees need to reserve a spot or email the instructor for the zoom passcode ahead of time. Some events have special attendance procedures, and sometimes instructors can’t email back fast enough before the event starts.

Tip 4: Always record interviews or events. Please do not use the "I will remember this” method. With other classes, work, family, friends, and other daily activities, important information may slip away. By recording the event, writers can double-check the accuracy of the critical information that was said during the event. The app called “Record” works perfectly for an interview or event.

Tip 5: In my opinion, is the most important, and that is to embrace this learning experience. Many exciting events occur within ENMU that sometimes get overlooked by students. Within this practicum, staff writers get the first-row seats to all events. Throughout my experience, I attended and wrote articles about a virtual game show, I met the student body president and the student body government during their canned food drive, I interviewed the career counselors on Facebook live, and so much more. The practicum can be hard work, but it was a lot of fun, and now I have many great articles to add to my portfolio.

As a first semester writer, I was fortunate to have Darrup and Silva correct my writing throughout my journey. They both answered my questions quickly and gave great tips on how I can improve. I want to wish Darrup the best, for this is her last semester with us. She has inspired me to keep writing and gave me a chance to improve my social media marketing skills by allowing me to take over the Twitter and Instagram for The Chase. This has been a great semester; I can’t wait to volunteer next semester.

I hope these tips help new staff writers who begin their journey in the spring semester, and I want to wish everyone a safe and fun holiday season. I hope to see everyone next semester healthy and ready to learn.

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