Guest Speaker Motivates Journalism Students

By Maqadus Sakhi ’19 and Rreze Kadrijaj ’19

Danial Adkison, assistant news editor of The New York Times, was invited to Ms.Kaczmarek’s and Mr. Levinson’s Journalism classes on April 27. As an editor, Mr. Adkison manages the production of the print section, writes headlines and captions, and works with page designers and other editors.

Mr. Adkison got his start in journalism in high school when he was the photo editor of his school paper. Before his interest in journalism, Mr. Adkison wanted to be an engineer, until his Journalism teacher helped him find his true calling.

“If you want to be in journalism it starts in high school, and even if you don’t want to be a journalist taking a journalism class helps gain media literacy,”  he said.

After graduating high school with a small class of 90 students in Colorado, Mr. Adkison won a National Merit Scholarship to Boston University. During his time at Boston University, he continued his passion for journalism by writing for the school newspaper. After college, he spent the past 13 years working with writers and editors at several different news outlets such as the Village Voice, Condé Nast Portfolio, Time magazine, The New York Times, City Limits, and others.

According to Mr. Adkison, he hopes that some of the Journalism students will pursue journalism as a career because in his opinion, it’s a good field, he enjoys it, and finds it fulfilling.

He brought a fun activity and visual aids for his presentation. For the activity, students were asked to read a short article and find five mistakes. The mistakes were common errors Mr. Adkison has seen over the years as an editor. The activity was a way to give students a feel of what a job of an assistant news editor entails.

“Finding the mistakes was not as easy as I thought it would be,” said  Jeanelle Louie ’19. “It really makes you think how much work goes into being an editor.”

One of the main points that Mr. Adkison stressed was to “have a very wide diet of media.”  He wanted students to read and listen as much as they can. He emphasized the need to read several different news outlets and not just The New York Times. By reading plenty of news, it allows students to heighten their skill of evaluating an article’s credibility.

“You can look at what’s being presented to you by the media and you can understand what’s going on,” said Mr. Adkison. “You have a good way to judge for yourself what is true and what you’re going to believe.”

Another point Mr. Adkison focused on was accuracy. While making mistakes is perfectly natural, editors need to be mindful because the newspaper’s credibility may be questioned as a result.

Mr. Adikson shared personal anecdotes of past experiences such as being a three time “Jeopardy!” champion and winning the New Yorker’s annual cartoon caption contest. He also shared his struggles of becoming  an assistant news editor.

“I think Mr. Adikson was a really nice guy and a wonderful speaker,” said Jingyi Li ’19. “There were numerous funny moments our class had with him. I learned that it not easy becoming a journalist because there are many obstacles to overcome before being successful.”

“I never thought of the impact of that making an mistake can had on an newspaper’s reputation, but it makes sense because an article with several mistakes make you question its validity,” said Xin Zhen ’19.

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