HOT OFF THE PRESS: WESLEY ROBINSON, REPORTER, PENNLIVE
I am a news reporter covering crime for PennLive.com/The Patriot-News. We are a digital-first enterprise that publishes a triweekly newspaper covering the news and issues of Central Pennsylvania, and now the state as a whole. We have an amazing responsibility in opening and dissecting the major news of the day. As such communications gives us the avenue to tell those stories and make an impact across Pennsylvania and beyond.
After reading the interview, contact Wesley here:
1. Why did you want to become a journalist?
I’m probably a bit different that most people in that I sort of settled on journalism after struggling through a few years of college and not knowing what in the world I wanted to do as a career. I’ve always enjoyed newspapers/media and it seemed like an interesting field to work in, but I didn’t grow up wanting to be the next great journalist, it was more of a means to an end. I would say I am becoming more passionate about the field as I progress is the ability to tell stories that aren’t always in line with the popular narrative. People complain that the media isn’t fair or doesn’t give the whole story. I do my best in working to dispel those conceptions, while trying to examine what issues are at play.
2. What tip can you give our readers to help them become better at reading and analyzing the news?
The popular answer these days is to read differing viewpoints, and I would agree with that sentiment. I would also add that it is important to read more than just what’s happening today. Decisions aren’t made in a vacuum and the impact of a choice might seem clear in the moment, but unintentional consequences and fallout may linger down the line. I suggest reading and listening to news sources more dedicated looking at long-term impact that examine policies and issues in that way. Listening is key because I’ve found a better understanding listening to podcasts where I can hear people in their own words or where someone’s actual tone can come across a lot better than in print at times. The format also gives those speaking more opportunity to convey their own thought processes, goals and apprehension on an issue you might not get in news story where a source is quoted in a limited fashion.
3. You interned at The Washington Post. How did this experience shape you?
That internship changed my life in that I saw where I was and what I needed to do to get to the top. It was incredibly humbling to say the least. The internship showed me that the journalism can’t be a means to an end if you want to be the best. You have to be willing to work as hard as you are working smartly to cover the news and make an impact.
4. Where do you see communication trends going in the future?
As long as I can remember, communications have been in a state of flux and I tend to believe a lot of the constant change and upheaval in media is going to remain norm. Social media has changed the game by giving subjects a direct connection to the public, but the media and the communicators within still remain best suited for telling stories, responding in crisis, analyzing issues and all of the other duties of message deliverers. While the study and theory of communications will evolve and grow, the cycle will remain the same.
5. How are youth integral to your work?
Youth and minorities are important to my work because both groups aren’t always represented proportionally by media coverage. When you think of who is covered, even school issues focus on the decisions adults make and not the work and development of the students impacted by said decisions. If young people and minorities grow in the consumption of media, so will their impact on the news and what is happening. I had been covering the primary campaigns in Lancaster and several young, diverse candidates are going out for positions including mayor and members of the city council. As such, they say they will bring a different approach and focus as leaders, which could the way the media covers issues in the city.