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"Look for that next layer. That's your job."

Amanda Jones '13 has always been passionate about journalism. The only problem? Her high school in Ohio didn't have a newspaper.

During her first week at Connecticut College, Jones jumped at the chance to join the staff of The College Voice, the student-run newspaper. And thanks to Journalism Day (J-Day) Sept. 4, a program sponsored by the paper and Office of College Relations, she has already started learning about newspaper writing and production.

"This program is a great way to work on your communication skills, something that will come in handy throughout life," said Jones.

During J-Day, about 40 students heard from media professionals who have decades of experience as reporters and photographers.

Jefferson Singer, a professor of psychology who wrote for Amherst College's student newspaper as an undergrad, told the students that curiosity is very important for reporters.

"You may think you understand a topic, but then you'll dig a little deeper in that next interview," he told students. "You want to look for that next layer. That's your job."

Singer, who has been quoted and featured in many newspapers and other publications across the country, said it's important to be prepared before interviewing.

"It makes it more of a conversation," he said. If you make the experience less awkward and more comfortable, he added, your subject is more likely to give you the information you're looking for.

During breakout sessions, students focused on topics such as writing news, sports, and arts and entertainment, in addition to photography. Lisa Brownell, editor of CC: Connecticut College Magazine, spoke with students about feature writing and wrote a blog entry about her experience.

Rebecca Reel '11 joined the copyediting group since she'll be editing stories for The College Voice this year. Reel wasn't sure if she'd pursue writing after graduation but is passionate about her role on the paper.

"Even if I don't go into journalism, writing is such a marketable skill for any job I'd go into," she said.

- Rachel Harrington

September 15, 2009