I worked as a staff writer on the health beat for Jayplay, a student-run lifestyle magazine, for my advanced magazine writing class at the University of Kansas during Fall 2009.
During this time I wrote weekly shorts and department stories related to health, one personal essay and one feature story. Below are clips of this work.
Keying in on Germs
October 1, 2009
This story started out as a short for the “That’s Disgusting” section of the magazine, but once I started researching I accumulated enough information to adapt it into a full story.
I consider this story about the germs found on computer keyboards to be my best department story of the semester.
I chose to split up the information in the story into the regular text story and the interactive graphic, which I think helps to draw readers to the page.
Look at Those Guns
November 5, 2009
This story pushed my limits as a reporter because I decided to write it even though I knew nothing about the topic.
The idea for this story came from noticing that several of my friends used workout supplements. I wondered if there was a trend among college students and if the effects of supplements could be harmful in any way.
The hardest part about writing this story was coming up with the right questions to ask. I did a lot of research before conducting interviews. Once I started interviewing I discovered that this topic could probably fill several books so then I had to work on limiting the story down to just the pertinent information.
That’s Disgusting: Acrylic Nails
November 12, 2009
This story about acrylic nails for the “That’s Disgusting” section of the magazine is one of my favorite shorts of the semester because it provides a lot of information that the average reader wouldn’t know.
It also does a good job of conveying the “ick” factor, which is the point of the section, in just a few paragraphs.
That’s Disgusting: Sharing Makeup
August 20, 2009
This story about the infections and bacteria that can be passed through sharing makeup shows how a lot of information can be packed into a small amount of space.
A good short can take just as much research as a longer story. This short contains three sources and does a good job of conveying a lot of information in fewer than 300 words.
Gettin’ Your PDA On
October 22, 2009
I’m proud of this feature story because I pulled together an extensive amount of research and then wrote an 1,800-word narrative on deadline.
I interviewed five expert sources and about twenty-five student sources.
I also managed to get this story in about a week early, so another reporter could have more time to work on his feature.
Getting Back in Step
August 27, 2009
I had no training in writing personal essays when this essay went to print.
Even though the deadline for my personal essay was before classes started, the essay still turned out well.
It related my personal experience of quitting ballet in high school to a universal experience—not feeling like you’re good enough at something.