Last Thursday, award-winning foreign correspondent and Dominican Lund-Gill chair Stephen Kinzer met with several of us journalism students to discuss reporting and writing. He gave us helpful tips to remember when we're trying to create The Story in our journalistic endeavors. Sharing many colorful anecdotes and stories about his experiences, the hour-long meeting was not only beneficial, but inspiring, and I must say it pumped me up as I went out to do some additional reporting on my story for this issue's Star. I was captivated by his stories and took his advice to heart, and I really believe that what he shared with us was very useful information.
Kinzer's been here at Dominican for over half a semester, but I hadn't really been to any of his lectures or really heard him speak until last week's meeting (I heard him talking about the SonShine School in Africa a couple weeks ago in the Martin Recital Hall after a documentary presentation, but it wasn't for very long). I don't know what "expectations" I had of him, but he was a lot different than I expected. In his photos he appears to be, maybe, a stuffy old experienced journo dude, but that is a prime example of why you can't judge a book by its cover.
Kinzer is a very animted speaker, and you get the sense that you're seeing a real person, no self-important pretenses or major ego issues that you may find in someone who has such vast experience and an impressive list of accomplishments. He comes off as friendly, wise, and knowledgeable.
He demonstrated to us that everyone has a story. You just have to dig for it. He explained how to find the color, the interesting tidbits that people will remember by creating genuine relationships with your interview subjects. No one wants to read straight up, boring listed facts. Journalists should look for the story where they may think there is none, whether it be in a desolate, not-reported-on place, or in a person that may be overlooked by society.
You want, as a writer, to produce something with depth that can affect and impact the human soul. In spite of the changing face of journalism, I believe that there is great hope and huge potential for where the field is going, and we aspiring reporters at Dominican have a great "resource" for inspiration.