COLUMN: Reporter gives more news coverage to women’s issues

By Marie Wilson

Favorite story written this semester: A story about Krista McMasters, a University alumna and the first female to be named chief executive officer of a top-25 accounting firm.

Best interview I did: I talked to Elihu Genmyo Smith at the Prairie Zen Center for a story about a Zen retreat. I took my shoes off and sat cross-legged, listening while he talked about living in the moment and being present within the mind and body.

The priceless quote that will hang on my wall: “This makeshift tent that’s been blowing away all day kind of illustrates what happens with ideas that women have: They just get blown away and not taken seriously,” said Kaytlin Reedy, sophomore in LAS and member of Allies for a Women’s Center.

The story I was most passionate about: The first story I wrote about why the University does not have a women’s center and why some people want to build one.

I wish this story … had more clear-cut and obvious opposition, so it would be easier to include a variety of opinions.

Moment that I loved my job: I loved my job when my days were filled more with journalism and working on stories than with busy work for classes. I also loved being a reporter when I got called to cover news as it happened, including the vigil on the Quad for the victims of the NIU shooting, and a press conference announcing the 37th Chief Illiniwek. Working for The Daily Illini was also exciting when I decided on the spur of the moment to write a story about my statistics class being evacuated because of an unattended laptop bag.

Moment that I hated my job: I hated my job when the stress of current stories combined with a lack of new story ideas, causing me to run around like a crazy person trying to get in touch with sources and produce the best journalism possible.

The story I would cover tomorrow: I would write a story about cover charges at bars, investigating how bar owners determine the price and how it differs among the bars on campus.

I would love to investigate Ross Wantland’s life further: He is the coordinator of Sexual Assault Education for the Office of Women’s Programs. I would like to find out why he became such an advocate for women’s issues and what else he is interested in.

If I could do one story over again: I would write my story on Café Intifada again. I would do more research on the word “intifada” and the issues surrounding it. That would allow me to choose my words more carefully and cover the story as fairly as possible without accidentally inserting biased phrases.

What I’m looking forward to covering in the fall: I am looking forward to covering things students care about, such as the seemingly never-ending construction, problems with the apartment renting system and all the options to graduate early, study abroad, or stay late that cause college to not automatically last four years anymore.

I work here because: I love writing, and I want to be a full-time journalist in the future. I also work at The Daily Illini because it allows me to get to know the campus better and gives me a reason to go to places I would not otherwise visit, such as the Prairie Zen Center, Hillel and the Chabad Center for Jewish Life.

The hardest story to write: A story I wrote about “The Vagina Monologues” was very difficult because I was uncomfortable asking people about their reactions to the show.

Why I chose my beat: I chose the religion beat because I come from a family with one Catholic parent and one Jewish parent, so I know about the importance of religious diversity and acceptance. I also chose to follow a women’s issues beat because it was something I had not seen covered in The Daily Illini in the past, and I believe issues that affect women deserve coverage in the paper.