A favorite topic of complaint among students in the Convergence department in the Missouri School of Journalism is J4804. (Sometimes these complaints are prevalent on Twitter). This is the reporting class all Convergence students are required to take. Students split their time between working in newsrooms affiliated with the J-School and working on multimedia team stories they pitch themselves. Make no mistake, the class isn’t easy and it requires a significant time investment. But it’s also not the reporting hell one might think from talking to some previous 4804-ers.
If you don’t want to pursue a career in reporting, this might be the only reporting experience you have. Even jobs that aren’t traditional reporter listings want to know that you can write and are competent in producing multimedia. You can slide by for the rest of your college career by taking the less-demanding, non-reporting classes. In short, this is a useful class even if you never intend to be a reporter.
It’s no secret this class requires you to put in a lot of effort, have good news judgement and a strong grasp of multimedia storytelling. Those aren’t things I can teach you in a blog post, but skills you will hone if you put in an honest effort into 4804.
There are several non-journalistic skills that can make getting through the semester a whole lot easier and more enjoyable. None of these pointers will directly translate into a higher grade, but I found them to be useful strategies to work well in groups and foster strong relationships with sources and faculty.
You have to take this class seriously. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be a reporter, are thinking about switching to strategic communication or are certain you never want to work in journalism. The work you do and the attitude you have in this class sets the tone for how the faculty will remember you. When it comes time to get an internship or job, you want to be certain you have put in the effort and produced the work to secure a recommendation from them.