Students dive into News Engagement Day


Orlando Sentinel reporters joined Digital Media professor Rebecca Newman’s News Reporting class on Oct. 5 to celebrate News Engagement Day ahead of its official day on Oct. 6.

News Engagement Day was created in 2014 by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) president Paula Poindexter. Poindexter’s goal in creating News Engagement Day is to make news engagement a national priority again.

According to the News Engagement Day website:

“News Engagement Day provides an opportunity to better educate the public about the press’ principles, process, watchdog role, and First Amendment rights. Each and every person’s participation is important.”

With this goal in mind, certain questions come up; one being:

“Do students even still pay attention to news? And if so, how do they find that news?”

Upon randomly polling 18 Valencia students, it became clear this answer was a mixed bag.

A little over half of the students answered yes. Six said they kept up every once in a while, and two said they didn’t keep up with news at all.

In answering where they got their news, students overwhelmingly responded TV networks, with social media and other websites following close behind.

The Orlando Sentinel Q&A session was open format, with Pedicini joining in from Twitter. Topics ranged from what goes into a great story, life in the newsroom, internships and advice for students.

On the subject of quotes from sources, Gabrielle Russon said she gets told “no comment” a lot, but that you have to at least try to reach out to people.

All had advice to give about what makes a story great. This advice ranged from making sure you tell a story well, having a good lead and expanding your expertise to more than one topic.

The group also encouraged even beginning journalists to have plenty of ideas to pitch to his or her editor.

On the subject of internships, the group said that while there isn’t an official internship-to-job pipeline for the Sentinel, interning is still a great way to get your foot in the door.

Additionally, if you make an impression and a position becomes available, it makes it more likely that your application will stand out, even if it’s not until after graduation.

Anyone can participate in News Engagement Day. All you need to do is to read, comment, like, watch, or otherwise engage with a news story. It can even be as simple as posting a news story or a picture of yourself participating in news activity.

To learn more about News Engagement Day, please visit the organization’s website at