Something that I had to learn as a young journalist was grabbing the readers’ eyes and actually bringing them into the exact moment. During the state championship at Williams-Brice Stadium on Dec. 17, 2016, I captured the first through the final plays and reactions of players, coaches and fans. It was truly an amazing experience. I wanted to be able to tell a story through the videos and pictures I took, so I made this Steller story which tells the story of the state championship game. Even though text, photos and video are the main platforms of journalism, engaging your audience in new and different ways that reach the desirable generation are very important. Today’s technology gives us new ways to tell stories incorporating the basics in never-before-seen ways.

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The story on a star kicker, who had been orphaned in Ukraine but adopted by a Rock Hill family, was one of my first stories for the community newspaper. When I started as an intern, I knew how to interview and write a profile piece, but creating a package for a professional newspaper this comprehensive as a convergence journalist, immersed me in a process that my mentor, Bret McCormick guided. During the start of gathering information I had to learn how to set up a specific time and place to talk to this star kicker. I had never been inside Rock Hill High before nor met Zhenya Deller, the kicker. I was stepping on all new ground. I realized as I began collecting parts of Deller’s story, that I was going to have to dig deeper. Bret allowed me to see that in order to get an in-depth story, there needs to be other sources involved. This led to me attempting to get in touch with his adopted mom, which was not easy due to her busy schedule. In the end, the story, the map, video, and photos worked together to tell a compelling story about an athlete that no one had ever dug deeply enough to get. This is my best package.

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The process behind a great story comes as a great struggle. During the state championship game that was played at the Williams-Brice Stadium, I experienced how media is really treated. Behind each of my pictures and this story came a fight. The past two years, there has been a constant battle for me to have a sideline pass. This year, once I got past the security, who initially refused to let me in, I was the only high school journalist on the sideline of South Pointe’s side. The fight was worth it, to capture these moments that will last forever and create packages for publication. I learned that day what is was like to be an actual journalist, to have to cover every moment by myself, and that people might try to stop me from doing that.

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