On April 6 students from Mrs. Sanderson’s speech class spread throughout the city of De Smet. Their purpose was to job shadow an individual working in a career where they have an interest and learn through the experience. A sophomore at De Smet High School, Willem Lim chose a career in journalism, and his job shadow event was arranged. Lim would show up at the Kingsbury Journal, and we would do tasks a newspaper reporter, photographer, and editor would do.
Why journalism? “The journalism that I wanted to do is a bit extreme,” said Lim. “I want to start off in a small town and get my bearings. Over time, build my way up. I would like to go to different countries, and cover places that people usually don't talk about. I want people to know that, hey, this place is here along with their people too. They have interesting stories and make people aware of the diversity and try to make the world a little smaller for everyone.”
First things first, though. When Lim showed up, his eyes were wide and bright and his attitude was exciting. He was eager to learn. He must have had an expresso before he visited, or am I turning into a grumpy old man?
Lim visited on a Wednesday, and at 9:50 a.m. our newspaper gets sent to the printer. True to newspapers’ routines, we have to go over some articles and edit some and proof others. From Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, the staff of Kingsbury Journal along with numerous volunteers working from home, go over the articles, ads, and layout. Everyone is busy checking for spelling, grammar, placement, and making sure correct names are used. It’s always better to catch the mistakes before the newspaper goes to press.
After Lim and I had gone over the weekly newspaper, I introduced him to the software we use to keep the articles flowing. We have a column of “cards” for each story idea, then one for content in progress and the next column is the content to review. This is where the articles are edited and when done, get moved over to the final column called finished content. From here it’s a simple move to drop the content into the newspaper’s layout.
One thing a reporter does is to think of a story idea, write out a few questions to ask the person you interview, catch a quick picture, then share that story in a printed format. Some of the other students were at Legend Seeds and the Sheriff’s Office. Lim chose to interview the students who were job shadowing with the Sheriff, Steven Strande.
Lim came up with the questions to ask our interviewees and wrote them down. We grabbed a camera and away we went to capture a story.
By now, I figured Lim’s excitement would be starting to die, but no luck. This kid is still interested in the happenings and still asking questions like he’s learning things.
We meet with Sheriff Strande and his two job shadows, Calliana Fields, and Tristan Olson, in the courtroom. Lim snaps a couple of pictures and then asks his questions. Interviewing teenagers is hard. Sometimes, you might get just a one or two-word reply. Lim got them to use full sentences and sometimes even two. He was mastering the interview part of a news story. Later, Lim shared, “I like asking questions.” “Yes, he does,” I thought.
I told Lim not to be limited by just his questions written out. If you think of something, ask it. Sometimes an answer leads to another question, so don’t be afraid to go off script every once in a while.
Lim and I found out that some booking photos had been taken of both students earlier, so we asked for a copy. Even though those pictures would be great in the newspaper, Fields and Olson weren’t sharing in our enthusiasm about sharing the mugshots, but that is okay.
When Lim’s interviews were done, and he had finished taking some pictures, we headed back to the newspaper office. Lim had some pictures to go through and to select which ones would be used in the article.
While Lim and I were working on sharing a story about job shadowing, I asked what his favorite classes in school were. “My favorite subjects in school would be history or geography. I like learning about things in the past so we can learn from it. I like to learn what we can do to make things better and not make the same mistakes as before.”
As the morning progressed, I continued watching Lim and answering his questions. After his questions, I would hit him with a bunch of questions, too. The time went fast.
I hope the day was a great experience for Lim. I know I enjoyed working alongside him. My only regret is I never learned where Lim gets all his energy.
Keep asking questions, Lim, and good luck in your endeavors.
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