Even the Most Open Minded Need to Loosen Up a Bit

By Alexa D, Age 15

It’s my first season of WriteGirl. I’ve joined for various reasons, and my experience so far has been very worthwhile. I also plan to attend every workshop. Of course, there are some I am more excited about than others, given that I wish to enter the field of film and screenwriting.

Now, I am going to be completely honest. I wasn't at all excited to attend this past weekend’s journalism workshop, aside from being able to see my mentor again and visiting with a good friend. I’ve never had anything against journalism, just never paid much attention to it. But when I left WriteGirl’s headquarters last Saturday, I left with a newfound respect and interest in journalism and all of the powerful women involved.

Journalist Beverly White working with a writegirl mentee

Journalist Beverly White working with a writegirl mentee

The day began with us going into stations sectioned around the room, each with a different article. My station was lucky enough to read Christopher Hitchen’s lovely piece on “why women aren’t funny.” I believe quite a good way to warm us girls up. Things really kicked off when they brought all of us together in a theater-style chair formation and began our mock press conference used to demonstrate to us the proper method of questioning, using a group of five wonderful women with their own respective professions. The one who stood out the most had to be Desiree Portillo Rabinov. Ms. Rabinov spoke mainly about women in politics (given that she is president of the National Women’s Political Caucus) and the general treatment and underestimation of women in the workforce.

                                                                                          executive director keren taylor and the female journalist panelists from the day

                                                                                          executive director keren taylor and the female journalist panelists from the day

After a wonderfully catered lunch, more stations, a great “Rant and Rave” led to the final panel of nine incredible women journalists, each accredited with her own impressive resume, giving out the final tips and overall advice on being a strong woman in the media. By the end of this workshop, I was completely exhausted from being enthralled in the world of journalism. One tip really stood out to me, though, as I saw it as a one that can blend into any form of writing—even everyday life. It was something along the lines of being informed—know what is happening around you. Obviously, in journalism, getting the facts right is important. But even in fiction, it helps. Putting in something that actually happened, that your target reader was alive for or learned about in school, could help them relate more to your character or story.

I showed up to the venue a bit pretentious but discovered that even I—though I consider myself very open minded—needed to loosen up and give things more of a chance. Although I won't be dropping all of my plans to become an aspiring journalist, I very much enjoyed this season’s workshop and am certainly looking forward to next year’s.