On Friday, September 19, 2014, Newsday’s Tara Conry visited the Stony Brook University course, JRN 320, to speak to young journalists about her experience as a community reporter. The Hofstra University graduate who has been working at Newsday since February 2013, covers feature stories throughout Nassau County and Sufflok County for Newsday.com and Newsday’s “Towns” sections.
After her discussion, I picked out three key points that I found to be the most significant.
- Get into the Huddle
- Conry expressed how important it is to get close to your subjects while you’re shooting. It’s all about capturing the scene at different angles. She told us not to be afraid to get into the middle of a huddle to get an interesting shot. It is important to get a variety of shots because that will distinguish a gallery that is okay, form one that makes you feel like you are there.
- Remember to be Human
- Sometimes reporters are assigned to stories that put them in tough situations. Conry reminded us that staying human is crucial for journalists when they are confronted with a difficult story. “Remember to be human,” she said. “Don’t ever lose that.” When we are speaking to our sources, she told us to always be respectful and to treat others how we would like to be treated. Before publishing something about a source, it’s important to think of how we would feel if contact similar to that was published about ourselves. At the end of the day, we are very similar to our sources, we are both human and have feelings that could be hurt.
- Be a Sponge
- Conry stressed that all students should get as many internships as they can because experience is crucial in the field of journalism. During these internships, we must be the best reporters that we can be. “No one expects you to be perfect,” Conry said. “But be that person who wants to learn everything.” We must remember to learn from our mistakes and to always ask questions. This will help us improve our skills and to be more respected by the organizations we intern at. The more experience we have, the better chance we will have at landing a job after we graduate.
There are a lot of other great lessons Tara Conry left with the class. I am grateful that she visited our class and shared her personal experiences with us.