I'm Certified!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Although it is not yet official (my grades for the recent public relations course I took have not been posted but I earned 97 out of a total of 100 available points), I have met the requirements of certification through the University of Massachusetts Amherst's journalism program and can cross it off of my "bucket list".  It's hard to believe that almost two years have transpired since I found their online offering and signed up for my first class back in the fall of 2011.  Looking back over that time, I've learned a lot about this profession and got a real taste of what its practitioners encounter on a daily basis.  In addition to the basics (overview/history and writing/reporting), I dabbled into today's online media trends and learned about the ethical constraints that must be adhered to in order to present an unbiased yet informative submission.  Once I see this most recent grade updated, I will contact the school to start the process of obtaining the actual certificate that will formally document my accomplishment.

While I have taken (and passed) their minimum requirements, I am planning on virtually attending more courses (if the VA is OK with that) to further expand my overall awareness and narrow my focus concerning a future career in journalism.  Next Monday, I am starting their abbreviated summer photojournalism course and I just saw that a class on opinion writing and columns is being offered in the fall.  I've become more comfortable with my camera over the months and I'm hoping to learn more about its capabilities over the next six weeks in order to improve my visual products.  If the truth be told, my "dream job" would be as a weekly/periodic columnist so I would enthusiastically welcome formal instruction and professional critiquing on my submissions in order to solidify my current writing skills.  Registration for that class doesn't open until July 17th so I'll have to set a personal reminder to do that as soon as possible.

Reflecting back on this accomplishment, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the instructors, fellow students, professional journalists and others that have inspired me and touched my life over the past 23 months.  Early on in my reporting class, I soon learned that restrained enthusiasm might get you to an event or a location; however, you also need to develop relationships and connections with others both inside and peripheral to the profession.  Such linkage facilitates access to the subjects and stories that need to be made available to a worldwide community of media consumers.  I could not have gotten into some of the places that I did last year without the benevolence of several people who took a chance on accrediting a college journalism student and blogger who wanted to cover presidential politics.  I hope that I can someday be in a position to repay that debt to another person in my same situation.

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