From the beginning, my project was always very general. I knew I would be researching and writing stories about the Great Lakes, but beyond that, there weren’t many details. What kinds of articles would I write? Would they be long or short? What about the format?
As the summer progressed, I found myself doing a little bit of everything. Some of my articles were assigned by my supervisor, but others I had the freedom to discover myself. That led to a wide array of articles. I’ve written long-form articles and shorter follow-up articles, and I’ve compiled lists of Great Lakes related activities for people around the area to use. I really liked this freedom because it allowed me to explore different types of journalistic writing.
It also never crossed my mind that I would be interviewing so many different people this summer. It seems obvious now looking back at it though (how did I not figure out that journalists interview people?) To be honest, I’m kind of glad that it was unexpected. I would have worried about it all of May, and probably dreaded it, too. Before this experience, I was not comfortable at all with the things I do regularly now like calling people I don’t know and asking them questions or asking for zoom interviews with strangers. I made 5 phone calls today, and 1 of them was to the wrong number! I can’t imagine I would have had the courage to do that in May and I have the DCERP experience to thank for that.
I’ve also definitely increased my knowledge of the Great Lakes and related issues this summer. It’s one thing to listen to someone talk about an issue, and a completely different thing to translate what they are saying into a readable format. It requires a full understanding of the issue, and I didn’t realize how much time has to be put into simply figuring out how to explain a complex idea to someone else. There’s no doubt that the interviews have been a highlight of my experience.