This past Saturday marked the first day of this year’s Acel Moore High School Journalism Workshop. The Class of 2018 began the program listening to journalist Aubrey Whelan, who gave them key tips on how to develop thought-provoking questions, how to interview people, and how to write news articles.
Aubrey Whelan has written about crime and politics in her career; she is currently covering the opioid crisis.
Whelan began the discussion talking about how to facilitate a successful interview. She reminded the students that an interview is supposed to be a dialogue between two or more people.
She advised the scholars to enter an interview with a series of topics or questions pre-prepared regarding what the interviewer wants to attain from the session. However, she also reminded them to not “marry” these questions or ideas; rather than reading off of their list of questions or topics, they should be developing questions related to the interviewee’s previous comments.
Furthermore, Whelan shared personal stories about challenging experiences she faced in her profession to motivate the students to continue pursuing a career in journalism, should they choose, despite the challenges they will face throughout their careers.
“People will slam their doors in your face, a lot. Just know that,” said Whelan. She told them to believe in themselves and their stories despite these instances.
Whelan reviewed the most basic principles and most important concepts to those established reporters who have built a trustworthy reputation in the journalism industry: ethics.
Whelan stressed to the students the importance of being factual. She told them to never be afraid to ask someone to repeat what they said, because people have lost their jobs for misinterpreting or misquoting public figures.
As she wrapped up her session, Whelan helped the Class of 2018 brainstorm ways to approach the topics they were considering writing about for the student produced newspaper that will be published at the end of the four-week program, “First Take.”