By: Jessica N. Grubbs
Travel journalism is nothing of what I thought it was going to be for the Jan term course. I honestly thought we would sit in our chairs everyday, listen to the professor lecture, and go home to watch Netflix. Which is typical of most Jan Term classes at Whitworth University. It was nothing along those lines at all. The travel journalism class was very hands on in learning how to write in the specific format to travel journalism. Going out and creating stories was the best way to learn about travel journalism.
The most satisfying aspect of my work this semester was learning how to come up with story ideas for each niche of travel journalism. Each niche kind of gives you a guide as to what you should write about. Being able to come up with story ideas was satisfying. I could see coming up with stories just through everyday talk with friends and experiences. I didn’t even have to go far from the city I live in to report on travel journalism. I could tell other people about how great Spokane is visit because of the sites, activities, entertainment, and more. It was also satisfying experiencing these story ideas. Sometimes they didn’t always play out like planned, but they proved to be a learning experience. I was able to discover places I would have not otherwise experienced.
The most challenging aspect of travel journalism is finding enough information. Sometimes you can research online until you can’t find any more information. Actually going out to find information is a different story. You learn that some people don’t want to talk to you or either woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. It can also be frightening to talk to people even when you are prepared. Sometimes asking the questions you have prepared ahead of time seem obsolete when you start asking them. Overcoming this fear of asking questions that don’t seem dumb to the places you are writing your story on is hard to do. I am an extrovert or introvert depending on the situation I am put into. I quickly learned that I needed to snap out of my introvert personality and start asking questions.
I have gained a deeper understanding of the audience of travel journalism. It is more narrowed down than the broad audience I thought it was. Everyone is looking for something specific in regards to travel. I also gained an understanding of the travel industry. A representative from Visit Spokane came to our classroom to speak with us about the travel industry within Spokane. I learned that they are using multiple different ways to attract people here from making presentations to get conventions to choose Spokane as their location to simply finding ways to get local Washingtonians to come spend their money in Spokane.
Taking travel journalism over Jan term was rewarding because I learned so much more about a niche of journalism I didn’t think much about. The things I have learned from this class will give me a broader spectrum to contribute to my career in the future.