Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reflecting on the Journalism Practicum

Ivan Garcia Hernandez of the Diocese of Tucson has served as a photographer for the journalism practicum this semester. His responsibilities included interviewing his fellow practicum students and writing a reflection based on those interviews. Ivan offers his reflection below:

The 2013 Journalism Practicum
Reflection by Ivan Garcia Hernandez

When we think of journalists, sometimes people with a pencil and notepad come to mind, people in suits and ties, or someone who has an ID and is sitting in front of the president's press conference.  A journalist is given the power to roam the world, to find the deepest information, and to reveal it to the whole world.  They also have to overcome their fears of being an introvert in order to be accurate and positive in their information and presentation.

Being a photographer, I too have to be disciplined in my way of taking a picture of the perfect moment. The picture reveals the motion and mood of journalism.  It derives from the words and explanations the journalists may use in order for the picture to come to life.  Journalism is the bridge between the event and the world at large.  It is the journalist's responsibility to record and analyze data so that the world or community may be informed.

World journalism leads us to the journalism practicum here on the hilltop.  The practicum is just one part of the journalism program under the leadership of Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB.  The program stretches to every corner of the hilltop, providing the community with updates, news, and events coverage.

This semester's journalists during their initial meeting: Gonzalo Siller, Raul Barriga,  Sister Hilda Kleiman, Ivan Garcia, and Daniel Miller

Every semester, the program receives new journalists.  This semester's journalists are: Raul Barriga, College 3, from the Diocese of San Francisco; Gonzalo Siller, Theology 1, from the Diocese of Fresno; Daniel Miller, Pre-Theology 1, from the Diocese of Boise; and Ivan Garcia, College 2, from the Diocese of Tucson.

Throughout this semester, the journalists have encountered many unique, important, and spiritual events.  As I read the answers the journalists gave me through the interviews via email, they sounded like they have progressed, developed, and matured in their journalism discipline.  I asked Barriga, "Why is it important for a journalist to be deeply active on the hilltop?"  He responded, "You can get a lot of exposure into possible different topics to write about, get recognition for the work that you have done, and focus on different styles of writing."  Barriga's response really demonstrates the need to be exposed to different events and topics.

As a photographer, I can see where getting exposure really fits into being an active person on the hill.  When I am in the moment or that moment in time, when I am about to take a picture, I see a different view of the reaction of people through the camera lens.  Once I take the picture, time has already been recorded, and through my pictures I help bring the journalist's words to reality and help emphasize the story.

A journalist is not just a person of thought or action but is also someone who is working towards building a better relationship with the community.  One question I asked Sister Hilda Kleiman is "Do you remember your favorite interview this semester?"  She responded with a positive reaction towards having favorite interviews that involved sports.  She said, "[I] have had to reacquaint myself with (or learn for the first time!) the rules of these sports; this is key background information for any sports reporter."  As a photographer, I too have to do my pre-event homework.  In order for my shots to be of quality and perfect moments, I have to find out a number of things: special guests (bishops, priests, etc.), the reason for the event, entertainment groups, and the timing of everything.

Sister Kleiman continued to say that "the journalism course, practicum, and blog are all a work in progress, and I will be plowing all of this experience back into the work I do with our students next year."  By her response, we see time and dedication well spent with the students and those who participate in the program.  The program takes it to the next level every time we submit an assignment.  Events gets bigger and bigger, but the news gets more interesting the closer we get to the end of the year.

Another part in journalism is following the direction of those who are former or older journalists.  One of the questions that I added to the interview was "What have you learned from Sister Hilda's direction and journalism techniques?"  Gonzalo Siller stated, "My journalism class has been a blessing and a great opportunity to meet, work with new people and practice my English skills."  Siller also stated that he had to overcome his fears of thinking in a logical English way.  However, he has improved through the course of the semester through his writing and interviewing the community.  "Sister Hilda has had a great effect to the program; we thank her for her continued service."

To conclude this semester's journalism practicum reflection, I asked Daniel Miller, "What is your summary of this semester's journalism practicum?"  He responded, "Our journalism program is growing and teaching many seminarians how to be better writers and photographers, showing many people how life on the hilltop looks."

This semester has been a great experience for me and the journalists.  We encountered many challenges and have come to achieving the techniques of journalism.

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