E-town NOW extending staff via Word, Web, Design class
Tara Moore, visiting assistant professor of English at Elizabethtown College, teaches a course called “Word, Web and Design.” The course, she said, is designed to go beyond classroom learning. In order to provide that hands-on experience, Moore arranged for a partnership with E-town’s Office of Marketing and Communications (OMC) and the E-town NOW online newsroom staff.
Before the semester, Moore emailed OMC to see if students from the course could write E-town NOW articles. According to Communications Manager Elizabeth Harvey, she was happy to oblige. Not only did it give E-town NOW more story variety, she also was excited to work with new students. “I enjoy mentoring writers,” Harvey said.
The project allowed each student to sign up for one article that interested him or her and fit into the writer’s schedule. Harvey sent the list of events to Moore and noted if an article would work better as a pre- or post-event story.
Senior Emily Soltys had not done much journalistic writing before; the latest she could remember was a joint piece on a poetry reading for the Etownian. “That one was easier because I had someone to bounce ideas off,” Soltys said.
She noted a key difference between news writing style she had learned in classes, such as Introduction to Professional Writing, and the style she employed for this project. “It was different because, in those classes, it was more creative,” Soltys said. “I’m much more of a creative writer, so it was definitely intimidating on that front.”
Though Soltys said she prefers creative writing to journalistic writing, she admits it was a valuable learning experience. “It’s another way to be published before I graduate,” she said. “Also, after having to write for somebody else, you learn more than you would in a classroom. Even if you follow all of the client’s rules and regulations, they may want to change things around.”
Moore said she hopes this has been a positive experience for all of her students. “Web writing offers a wide open career field for our graduates,” Moore said. “Many English alumni report back that they are writing for the web, so this course and this assignment are designed to help students gain experience in that area.”
This experience could help students decide if they are interested in journalistic writing and, though there is a chance they won’t like it, Moore said, that is not the main objective of the assignment.
“The goal is to have clippings of actual work. They’re learning to space their time wisely.”