Blog #2: A writer is a storyteller

Since high school, I have had an interest in the media. I began by writing for my high school newspaper. I wrote mostly news, features, and sports stories. I never thought I would write–or rather have my articles published–while attending college. It all changed once I became a mass communication and journalism major, and had the chance to write for the Sanger Herald and the Selma Enterprise in the fall of 2014. In spring of 2015, I became a news assistant for University Communications at Fresno State. I had three bylines this year in Fresno State Magazine. Behind all of these endeavors were supportive and knowledgeable advisors who taught me the importance to storytelling.

As a storyteller, I can capture the best and most compelling details about a human subject. If I can give readers the answer to the question  ‘why’, I have written a successful story. I believe one of my strengths is being compassionate and engaging–that’s how I get the good material in my interviews. For example, I wrote a profile on an elderly volunteer police officer in Selma, and my advisor was impressed with the quotes from the police officer’s supervisor–calling her a “pistol of a volunteer”. I attack stories with an open mind and lay all my ideas in front of me, highlighting quotes and topics as I go go-to points. I have always done well writing news because I can remain objective while bringing out the most interesting points in a story.

Good writers have a conversational tone, writing as they speak. Since I have a habit of talking too much on occasion, I also have the curse of writing very lengthy pieces. I have relied more on advisors to edit out what isn’t necessary or doesn’t add color or value to the story. This also includes revising some sentence structure.  In public relations, communication must be concise because you want to get across the most important points in the shortest amount of time. You are vying for readers time since their attention span is very short. I am used to writing two-paged spreads so to write anything shorter will require me to grow as an editor. I hope this class and my public relations agency practicum will help my writing make more of an impact. I want to use the medium effectively. I eventually would like to write a larger body of work, and also become a speaker.  My goals for the year are to read more writing for public relations and to regularly update my own personal blog, “The Buttercup Bulletin“.

-Erika D. Castañon

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