Some tips from home and abroad

Image from Flickr user Paul Downey
By Ryan Levi

The end of this semester is a time of transition for ONA Mizzou. Three of our executive members (Maria Davison, A.J. Feather, and myself) are getting ready to study abroad in the spring while three more (Emerald O'Brien, Madison Feller, and Sarah Darby) are preparing to return from overseas and take their spots. We have all learned a lot this semester and we want to impart some of what we learned to you all.

3 tips from home

Who: Maria Davison
Position: Secretary
Spring 2015 Destination: Milan, Italy
Tip: Live tweeting and blogging; DO IT - When ONA holds events, it falls to one of the executive board members to live-tweet the event and another continuously updates a live-blog for the event. Maria got to do both during the semester, and she found them to be a tad more difficult than she expected. But she's thankful that ONA events gave her the chance to work through these challenges. She says, "Take every opportunity you can to practice those skills and you'll be thankful later."

Who: A.J. Feather
Position: Treasurer
Spring 2015 Destination: Washington, D.C.
Tip: Relax. Journalism is still journalism - When you spend a lot of time looking at digital journalism and the future of journalism, it can be easy to get caught up in everything that's changing. But A.J. thinks it's important to remember that for all the changes and technological advances in journalism and the distribution of journalism, journalism itself isn't changing in any mighty way. He says, "The web will change how we do journalism and mobile devices will change how we do journalism, but journalism is still journalism. There's no sense in obsessing over the hot new item unless it helps you deliver content in a more meaningful way."

Who: Ryan Levi
Position: Social Media Coordinator
Spring 2015 Destination: Pamplona, Spain
Tip: Follow @ONAMizzou - Okay, so this may seem like a shameless plug. And it kind of is. But I have learned so much about the journalism industry while putting together the tweets and Facebook posts for ONA Mizzou. David Carr's weekly "Media Equation" column in the New York Times is now a must-read for me. PBS Media Shift, Nieman Lab and our very own RJI are all bookmarked on my computer. Even after I stop sending them out, I can guarantee you that I will be keeping a close eye on what Sarah and the rest of the spring crew send out on social media.

3 tips from abroad

Who: Emerald O'Brien
Position: Secretary
Fall 2014 Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
Tip: Remember that online journalism is global journalism - Studying journalism and reporting in another country opened Emerald up to a whole new world of cultures, opinions, priorities and opportunities. She quickly realized that online news is accessible all over the world, which means sometimes we have to cater to a larger audience. After several months abroad, Emerald gained a better understanding of what it means to think globally and to be more aware of her biases. She says, "Online news allows for great opportunities in global journalism, but to use them properly, we must learn where we stand in the world community—studying and reporting abroad has been an excellent start for that."

Madison Feller
Position: Treasurer
Fall 2014 Destination: Brussels, Belgium
Tip: Find time to do the work you love - Technically, Madison went to Brussels to be an intern and a student. But she ended up spending most of her free time on a few "side-projects"—freelancing and blogging. These projects opened up unexpected doors for Madison, like reporting at Paris Fashion Week, and they became one of her favorite parts of her study abroad experience. She says, "I've learned you should be diligent about finding the time to do the work you love. Whether that means spending your nights coding apps or taking weekend photography classes, opportunities can and will arise when you focus your efforts on projects you believe in."

Who: Sarah Darby
Position: Social Media Coordinator
Fall 2014 Destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tip: Explore - Sarah sees study abroad as a great time to explore new passions and new interests. Her best advice is, "Be open to discovering new things about yourself and your interests because you never know where it will lead."

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