We’ve been eagerly awaiting the documents all week, and today, at our third meeting, they have finally arrived: Big thanks to JJIE editor, John Fleming, for stopping by Emory to pick up the flash drive from Steve!
4,000+ pages of documents all about the prisoner’s life. From his placement in foster care as a 2 years old toddler, to his current life as an incarcerated 30 year old in the Calhoun State Prison, we have all of the background information we need in the palms of our hands.
We may have all of the facts and background information, but, as we are learning through Leonard’s assigned readings in The Complete Book of Feature Writing, we have so many more details, viewpoints, and pure emotions to gather before we can bring justice to this story. The Journalists have been doing a lot of reading on what it takes to write a great story. As we brush up on our skills, we realize that reporting will be the first and main step in gathering the information for this story. After all, according to David Finkel, a Washington Post writer, “writing is nothing without reporting.” Reporting will entail all of the research, interviewing, organization and “hanging around” that precedes the writing of the actual story. For this project, reporting will be especially important, as we must gather as much detail as possible in order to relay the information to the inworld builders.
As we await a reply for an interview with Steve Reba (which will hopefully open the doors to many other interviews with various other people), we will start with step one: Research. Now that we have all the documents, we will find a way to divide them up to become familiar with the case. In addition, we will research the Senate Bill 440 aka SB440 laws and any other significant information that has significance for our particular case.
Before we interview, we want to know as much about the case as possible so we know the right questions to ask. As journalists, we know that during the visits and interviews, we must not only prepare quality questions to gather all the relevant information for our story, but we must also be passive observers. We need to take a step back, observe the area, and take detailed notes to assist our team builders in recreating this story in our virtual world as a set for the machinima.
Along with the information we are obtaining in the case documents, we are learning more and more every day about journalism and inworld building. As a team, we are all extremely excited to combine our developing skills to amplify the voice of Georgia’s youth in the Juvenile Justice System.