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Kasoma Shares Experiences From Minority Writers Seminar
By Kevin Stump
Dr. Twange Kasoma, who recently attended a Minority Writers Seminar hosted by Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, is eager to share what she learned in the classroom.
The seminar, which had 18 participants from all around the United States, lasted from Nov. 3-6. It was held in conjunction with the Association of Opinion Journalists.
One of the goals of the seminar was to help journalists better understand and become interested in opinion writing, as well as share techniques and ideas.
“They kept us on our toes,” Kasoma said. “I felt like I was back in the newsroom. I haven’t been in the newsroom for a while now since I’ve mostly been teaching.”
One of the lecturers there was Roy Peter Clark, perhaps best known for his book, Writing Tools, as well as other books on teaching writing. Clark’s portion of the seminar used music to teach writing.
After lectures in the beginning of the day, Kasoma and the other attendees had assignments to try to incorporate what the lecture had been about in their writing.
“In the latter part of the day, we had assignments, we had to get the knowledge of what we learned from the lecture and apply it to an actual piece of writing, Kasoma said. “We did columns, we did editorials, and then the next portion of the day was to break up into groups and do group critiques.”
Group mentors and instructors during this portion gave the participants pointers on how they had done, and gave pointers for them to improve their writing.
Another section of the seminar focused on social media, and how traditional print media can incorporate it into their current practices.
One of these techniques is the videotorial; similar to traditional editorials, but done in video, a lesson Kasoma was particularly interested in.
“In mass communication you want to communicate or disseminate your information to as many people as possible,” she said. “And so learning about the different techniques in which you can capture different audiences I thought was really, really fascinating for me.”
As with many teachers attending seminars, Kasoma wants to utilize what she learned to bolster her teaching in the classroom.
“I’m playing around with the idea of maybe introducing an opinion writing course, because I’ve noticed we don’t have such a course here,” Kasoma said.
Opinion writing in journalism is slowly dying, as many institutions don’t teach it as part of their course offerings. Kasoma is also looking into some potential internship possibilities for communications students.