An open letter to pre-Rwanda Meagan…

Dear [insert starry-eyed traveler here],

A year ago today, I was feverishly packing my bags to go to Rwanda. Tomorrow, the same program and advisor that I traveled with is escorting a new group of students on the trip of a lifetime.

Instead of hashing plans to sneak on their plane (which I can hardly refrain from doing), I’ve been reminiscing about my experience and more specifically, what I would do differently.

While I don’t believe you can ever fully prepare for an experience abroad, there are some things that I would advise my fellow travelers to remember and consider.

Continue reading “An open letter to pre-Rwanda Meagan…”

What you find when you’re not looking

Curiosity did more than kill the cat.Cat, Photo by Meagan Doll

In my opinion, it is curiosity that has fueled the most captivating interviews, captured the most intriguing photographs and generally produced the best journalism.

The trouble is, however, that sometimes I try to suppress that curiosity. Instead of turning it into an asset for innovation, I often find myself throwing out the idea altogether. Curiosity can be intimidating.

When my original project idea fell through for a very large journalism assignment, I experienced those 15 seconds of panic when one asks themselves whether or not they are pursuing the right life path.

In an effort to save my young, aspiring spirit, my instructor suggested I do a story about UW-Madison’s boxing club.

Continue reading “What you find when you’re not looking”

Media in Rwanda – Reflections 20 years later

I’ve been anxiously anticipating this week since I returned from Rwanda nearly 10 months ago.

Genocide memorial where over 250,000 were buried in Rwanda's capital, Kigali.
Genocide memorial where over 250,000 were buried in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

While I’ll never forget the reflective faces and flowered memorials that marked the 19th anniversary of Rwanda’s genocide, somehow this year’s 20th mark has me even more tangled.

Somehow my mind irrationally accepts that the international community has not changed “only” 19 years after the systematic killing of over 800,000 Rwandans beginning April 7, 1994.
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The future of humanitarian reporting

If you read my last post, you’d know that I’m not settled on a dream job.

And when people ask me what I want to do with a journalism major, I usually just know what I don’t want to do with it.

Sports broadcaster? No thanks. Board meeting reporter? Mm, rather not. Marketing executive? Eh, better not.

DSC_0991In fact, I didn’t even know there was a title for the kind of work I am interested in until UW Alumna Erin Luhmann spoke about her Win-a-Trip contest with humanitarian reporter Nicholas Kristof.
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How do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Somehow, I haven’t outgrown that question. At 20-years-old, my best girlfriends and I still ask each other nonchalantly…

DSC_0132What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m starting to be more okay with the fact that I don’t know. I’m not really sure what I want to be. It’s scary. But it’s scarier to imagine locking myself into to a career of TV broadcasting or daily crime reporting without allowing myself to learn, imagine, and apply outside of those boundaries.

In the immediate now, I’m finding it easier to think about how I want to be when I grow up. What qualities do I want to possess? What skills do I want to market? These questions leave my career options wide open, while still narrowing my focus for today.

Here are five skills/qualities/mindsets I’d like to master before I “grow up”:Continue reading “How do you want to be when you grow up?”

A for Effort

I remember my first A-. Chemistry. Tears. Frustration. And a few sassy words.

I mean really, I’m a journalism major with certificates in African Studies and ESL.

Now, I have to ask myself why I would expect to receive an A in a class like chemistry–a class so removed from my talents, abilities, or interests.

This article, written by a professor at Duke, argues for the expulsion of the traditional grading system–not because it’s inherently limited or unfair–but because it has created a philosophy that students (and many of them) can somehow be perfect.
Continue reading “A for Effort”