Journalism: Meridian alums discuss possible improvements for program


photo by Jordan Boyer, Photo Editor of the Daily Eastern News

Corryn Brock, a Meridian alum, hopes to help improve her former journalism program. She is now majoring in journalism at Eastern Illinois University, where she is the Associate News Editor of the Daily Eastern News.

by Hannah Reichert, Editor-in-Chief

After seven years, several alums from the Meridian journalism program have ideas on how to change the course.  These changes could better prepare students for journalism past high school.

“I would say one of the biggest differences is the work load,” said Andrea Ricker, a news reporter at Illinois State University and class of 2017 graduate. “I think that maybe having students have two articles a month could get them more used to a real newsroom setting.”

A student in the journalism class at Meridian actively has one news article, one story package, and one broadcast per month–on top of their regular classwork. Ricker usually has one to two articles and three news briefs a week, five story pitches ready prior to Sunday meetings, and sometimes coverage of an event.

“I think administrators in high schools need to realize how harmful it is to try to keep students from reporting on topics that aren’t necessarily flattering to the school,” said Corryn Brock, an Associate News Editor for the Daily Eastern News and class of 2018 graduate. She goes on to say, “Covering controversial topics within the school may have the community talking for a week but it’ll prepare students for being professional journalists.”

Brock enjoyed covering the happier stories like Lauren Doyle’s Olympic journey, but she decided that she wanted to be a journalist when she covered the National Walkout Day, which was a controversial topic.

“It’s more important at that [high school] stage to understand what’s newsworthy, getting your writing figured out, and watching news segments to see how it all works,” said Jacklynn Boatman, a News Producer at WINK News in Fort Myers, Fla. and Meridian class of 2012 graduate.

Boatman did not take journalism in high school, but fell in love with it in college at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. “Also it’s important to be able to get stories out to people, and break it down so your average viewer can understand what is happening in their community.”