Convention notes: Be fearless in reporting

Features reporter Nicole Luna shares her thoughts on a session from the Society of Professional Journalists Region 8 convention:

Border Wars with Diana Valdez, El Paso journalist
Diana Washington Valdez is a journalist, author and political science instructor based in El Paso, Texas. She writes columns on U.S. Mexico relations and U.S.-Mexico border topics and is finishing up he next book “Mexican Roulette: Last Cartel Standing.”

Valdez spoke about her experiences writing about the feminine homicides in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and about the drug war. Valdez is pretty much a rock star! She goes above and beyond for her stories. Because of her stories she is no longer allowed in Ciudad Juarez. The local corrupt government has tried to arrest her and there have been times where someone has tried to even assassinate her. Valdez shows real courage and a passion for journalism that is inspiring for any journalist.  

Tips:
-Important for a journalist to develop self-confidence.
-Broaden your scope.
-Become an expert- be the local expert on a specific topic.
-Always check the archives to see what’s been done before.
-Extend your source network.
-Research statistics.
-Always let people know what you’re interested in.
-Collaboration can succeed if you find the right people to collaborate with.
-Use Multimedia, blogging, Facebook, Skype, etc.

Things the Shorthorn can do:
-Sometimes when someone starts at The Shorthorn it can be scary and intimidating to do a story. What would be a good idea is to have some of the new reporters shadow the veterans so they can see what it’s all about and also develop a relationships with those veterans who can helped with future stories.
-We need to become experts about beat. Readers depend on us to give them accurate information about a certain section of the school.

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