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HHS Alum Speaks to Journalism Class

S. Padilla

Abby Provencher, Staff Writer

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A 2010 Hawthorne High School alumni, John Kender, visited the HHS Journalism class on March 21, 2013, to share his experience as broadcast journalism major and to give the students advice on working in the field.

Kender began by talking about the love for writing and journalism he discovered in his HHS English and Journalism class, with Theresa Di Geronimo and Sean Van Winkle as his teachers. He stated that it inspired him to pursue journalism in college. Kender currently attends William Paterson University (WPU) and majors in broadcast journalism, which focuses on TV and radio. He shared his love for reporting and how much he enjoys his major.  His studies have given him opportunities to report on both William Paterson’s radio station, WPSC 88.7 FM, and TV station, WBPN.  Kender was proud to explain that WPU’s radio station was awarded Best College Radio Station in the Country by the National Broadcast Association.

Kender explained to the class that the process of writing for radio and TV news is very similar to print journalism. However, Kender informed the class that the writer is usually not the reporter, or “the face” or “the voice,” on the TV or the radio. Kender said that he loves being in the spotlight and enjoys being the voice on the radio. He likes catching people’s attention and engaging them in the story.

Kender also shared with the class that he had the opportunity to write for two William Paterson newspapers: The Beacon, which is student-run and self-funded, and The Pioneer Times, the school’s official paper. Kender talked about how much fun he has interviewing people, and how much he loves going out and learning their opinions for his articles. Talking about an article he wrote on voting in the past presidential election, he explained that he surveyed voters of all ages asking them for what price they would be willing or unwilling to sell their vote , and if living in a democracy gives people the right to sell their votes.

The students were advised on key things to know and remember while working in journalism. Kender introduced these “ABCs”: ‘A’ meaning accuracy; ‘B, meaning brevity; and ‘C’ meaning clarity. He encouraged the class to learn to manage their time properly. He stated that in college, internships, and the real world of journalism, it is important to gather all your information, work out your ideas, and meet your deadline to avoid losing a position in a competitive job field. He also warned the class about plagiarism and told them about the requirement of giving attribution in stories.

He continued by talking about how fact-checking an article is essential in being a successful journalist. The three main sources for facts are records and documents, what people say, and what you see. In a world where online journalism is growing, and people go to the Internet for quick updates and news, it is vital to make sure correct information is being posted because one slip may cost a reporter his or her job.

Kender continued by explaining it is key to know your audience and to make sure you are writing the story for them. He told the class that good journalism is writing to make readers understand, which can be difficult when your audience is at so many different reading levels. Being objective while reporting is also another challenge, but it is a necessary task that all journalists must accomplish in order to reach a broad audience full of different opinions. However, Kender advised that no matter who your audience is or how big a story is, being humane is the most important thing, and told the class to “never jeopardize your ethics for a job or story.”

Kender, who recently acquired an internship at The Bridge, a Christian radio station (103.1), expressed that even those who do not plan on pursuing journalism can still learn many vital life skills and lessons from the class such as being on time, doing you own work, establishing who you are, and holding onto your ethics.

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HHS Alum Speaks to Journalism Class