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Learning Community Prepares Fresh Reporters

Author: perkinsk | Image: perkinsk

The Coke can sat in the middle of the desk, oddly out of place on the otherwise organized platform. Her legs crossed, Greenlee Lecturer Lisa Munger Oakes sat near the edge of her seat, excitement clearly reflected in her eyes. She was ready to dish details on her newest Greenlee endeavor: leading the journalism learning community.

This program provides a strong foundation for incoming freshmen journalism students. The group meets monthly throughout the semester to talk news, participate in field trips to news outlets in the Ames and Des Moines Metro areas and listen to a variety of journalism professionals.

Freshman Felicia DaCosta said she thought the learning community would serve her well in her future as well as aid her in making new friends. She said she believes Munger Oakes will be a valuable resource to her in her journalism career.

“She’s great, she’s been so much help,” DaCosta said. “It seemed to me that it was right to be where I would get to write.”

Classes are set in advance by Munger Oakes for the entirety of the students’ freshmen year. The program is open to journalism-specific majors only and is offered to freshmen when they originally register for classes.

Courses Munger Oakes has picked for the learning community’s foundational year include journalism orientation, introduction to reporting and writing and introduction to world religions, for a diversity perspective.

“Part of my responsibility is to make sure these students are lit on fire for journalism,” Munger Oakes said. “I think being a journalist is the best job in the world—I think it’s fantastic. I want to keep them fired up about that and connect them with resources right away.”