So I have written a total of four articles for IPS so far and every one of them has been very stressful. From calling potential sources to writing up an article that is appropriate for our kind of news agency there is always something to do when you have an assignment. My problem is inserting enough context, I'm used to writing short 600 word stories for class assignments and IPS wants a minimum of 800 words, which is tough for me. But it's been fun and I've been learning a lot from them.
It's also hard because there are so many bureaus of IPS and you don't know which bureau is covering what and what falls under you're jurisdiction. It's also difficult because you don't know what kinds of story they will want you to cover since they aren't a traditional news agency.
One of my main weaknesses that I am working on and becoming more confident with is interviews. I had to interview the president of the Cuban-American National Foundation for an article I was working on with the head of the Washington bureau, and I was so nervous. But I just took a deep breath and called him and the interview went great. He was really funny and had a lot of great opinions on what we were working on.
It's also been a great opportunity because I am now their "Africa specialist" as they jokingly call me. I was in Zambia and I am studying Africa, but it's funny that it's my new label. I just wrote an article on Burundi, which was the subject of a new report by Human Rights Watch. It wasn't very positive because it was all about the violence in the country, but I liked researching a country that is not in the news very often.
Well that's all from me until next week! Now I'm working on an article about Zimbabwe so I have a lot of work to do!