Covering Coronavirus: Tips, best practices and programs

Introducing the Class of 2020: Jane Turchi, with a cameo by NPR’s Kat Lonsdorf

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is spotlighting the next generation of journalists, students graduating from college or Master’s programs this spring into a challenging job market, in hopes they’ll meet future bosses and colleagues here, who will reach out and support them in building journalism’s future together. 

Name: Jane Turchi

School: Texas A&M University

Location: College Station, Texas

What have you learned from your involvement with student media on your campus?

Turchi: As a reporter and editor for Texas A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, I have learned how to work creatively as a team under short and sometimes unexpected deadlines. Covering both feature and breaking news stories, I have learned how to connect with sources, conduct interviews and research for an article efficiently and effectively. With the opportunity to meet and interview fascinating and passionate sources for stories, I have learned to always be curious.

What have you learned from your internship experience(s)?

Turchi: An intern at a county newspaper, Freestone County Times, I gained experience to report and edit stories for publication. I attended local events to report and photograph material for print. I had the opportunity to cover stories within the courthouse and learned how to report for ongoing legal stories. Through the experience, I learned how to use InDesign, Photoshop and AP Style in the newsroom.

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As the special selections intern at The Battalion newspaper, I learned to create and organize story budgets for magazines. I learned how to communicate clearly as I am responsible for ensuring that reporters understand the expectations for each story they pick up. I also learned how to organize production nights for online and print publication.

What’s been your best moment in journalism?

Turchi: This past semester I was lucky enough to work on a story about an organization which helps North Korean refugees make a dangerous journey out of China where they can be forcibly repatriated after escaping North Korea. After networking with some sources, I was able to schedule an interview with Joseph Han, the first North Korean defector to earn a Ph.D. in natural sciences or engineering in the United States. Han undertook a dangerous journey to escape North Korea to arrive in South Korea and eventually come to the United States with his family. I felt so fortunate and honored to hear and share his story through the article. Many sources and readers thanked me for taking interest in the story.

What’s the wackiest story you’ve worked on?

Turchi: One of my favorite moments being a journalist was covering this story about the Arabian Autumn Classic Horse Show. I conducted interviews with sources while they were riding or leading their horses. Some riders were also wearing extravagant costumes. Many of the horses had fun names like Despicable Me and Gru. With the permission of parents, I was also able to interview one of the young riders while being led around the arena by his father.

What do you want to accomplish in your journalism career?

Turchi: I enjoy sharing important and new stories from diverse perspectives. An international studies major, I value reporters that write stories with an international focus and hope to do the same. I hope to accomplish reporting on new and fresh stories that make sources feel that their stories are important and vital. By finding sources on all sides of a story, I hope to report transparently and truthfully.

If you could meet any journalist and ask for her/his advice, who would it be and why?

Turchi: I would ask NPR’s Kat Lonsdorf if she had any advice for how she effectively made good relationships with sources and discovered interesting, creative stories while a fresh reporter outside of her native country.

Kat Lonsdorf responds: My advice would be to do as much research as you can before you go somewhere new. Make as many phone calls as possible, talk to local reporters, read all the books you can get your hands on, and ask people who have been to the area before what they thought was interesting. Before I went to Fukushima, I became obsessed with it – I spent hours just poking around on Google maps, for example, so I was familiar with the area before I got there. People will appreciate the work you’ve done once you’re in the new place. And then once I was there, I was curious about everything. Talk to everyone you meet – servers at restaurants, shop keepers, hotel staff. Ask them what they think. Spend time with people and really get to know them, if you can. Show them that you care, and then let them lead you to the hidden stories.

Read Kat Lonsdorf’s advice to the class of 2020: ‘I was a journalism grad in a recession; what I got was a second education’

What do you want potential employers to know about you?

Turchi: I am hardworking. I value the openness and honesty that sources give me in their interviews, and with every story I strive to report in a way that is transparent, comprehensive and clear. I have had experience that has made me passionate about the importance of journalism and hope to have the opportunity to learn more at every stage of my career.

When you aren’t practicing journalism, how do you spend your time?

Turchi: I enjoy traveling with friends and/or family over holiday breaks. I enjoy spending time outside riding horses and playing soccer. I also like being my own barista and creating new, fun drinks while snuggling up to watch the next popular kdrama.

If you’re a senior studying journalism, or know one, we’re accepting information here for students to feature in the future. If you’re a supporter, you can contribute here to scholarships for journalism students.