Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What I've learned from NewsTrust

After a semester of reviewing stories on NewsTrust.net, I’ve been able to detect flaws in others’ writing so I don’t make the same mistakes. At first, you’d think that I could acquire this skill by picking up a newspaper every once in a while, or by editing a classmate’s paper. In most cases, that is true. However, the website offers a really helpful tool when rating a story—a review guide.

The areas that are supposed to be rated are factuality, fairness, sources, context, depth, enterprise, relevance and grammar. All the terms seem like simple concepts, but not always. I learned that there’s a lot more to writing a cohesive and complete news story than I thought. Actually, it was difficult to remember what each aspect meant at first. I kept referring to the automatic pop-up definitions, which took me a lot of time. Eventually my understanding of the meanings improved and over time, I could acknowledge certain points (like making mental notes) while reading the stories.

So in other words, NewsTrust’s review guide forced me to pay attention to each aforementioned quality that makes a proper news story. If it weren’t for the review guide, I’d still be pondering the usual suspects of editing (grammar and spelling).

Not to mention, I’d still be getting most of my news from Detroit radio stations or news channels playing in the background while getting ready for or driving to school in the morning. Before I was assigned NewsTrust stories, there wasn’t very much diversity in my news sources. As much as a budding journalist as I’d like to think of myself as, I lacked knowledge for the rest of the world (and still do sometimes). Sure, I was aware of EMU’s campus and news happening in Livingston and Washtenaw counties. But as far as world news, I was almost clueless. I hate to give myself that little of credit, but it’s true!

I feel so much more aware of my fellow inhabitants just from browsing the website’s news section. So, after having such an eye-opening experience, I’ll probably keep this website close to me and reference it often.

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