Reflection 3: Written Communication Proficiency

Final Draft- Taylor Penzer

When I think about how my written communication proficiency has improved since I began my time as a student in the Knight School, I have one class to especially credit for this, which would be COM 204: News Writing and Reporting. My class was taught by Professor Mary Tabor, a former reporter for the New York Times. The Times is an iconic American news publication, and with Ms. Tabor’s experience of working in the industry, I can’t think of anyone who would have been more qualified to teach our class.

Ms. Tabor did not simply teach a class about print journalism; from day one of the semester, she treated each student as a journalist and ran the course like a news room editorial meeting. My classmates and I bounced ideas for stories off of each other in brainstorming sessions, and many times throughout the semester participated in peer editing workshops for our written work. And of course the act of writing was something that we did frequently, whether in class or as assignments! Our textbook covered various types of new stories: everything from hard news to obituaries to press releases. Ms. Tabor gave us plenty of opportunities to practice all of the different news writing styles through timed in class exercises, and we also had the opportunity throughout the semester to be published in the Queens Chronicle with our larger homework story assignments!

The written piece of which I’m proudest of from the semester was a collaborative effort that I helped contribute to for the Chronicle with my classmates. In the first class period that we had after the tragic Paris bombings, Ms. Tabor had a special assignment for our class. She gave each student a reporting duty, and sent each of us out over campus to gather information for a collaborative story. I was sent to interview Professor Lien, Queen’s head French professor, to hear his opinions on the tragedy. We all reported back to class that day with our findings and interviews, and by the end of the period, we had produced a collaborative article for the Chronicle with all of our findings. It was published later that week, and I was amazed at how each person’s contributions all helped to form a wonderful article on such difficult subject matter. It was then that I realized how many important writing skills I had been learning in COM 204!

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