Unveiling The Daily Hustle: What It’s Like to Be a Student Journalist at The Lance
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a student journalist? What is it like to work at a newspaper? How do student journalists at The Lance balance completing their coursework and writing stories? This story provides an inside look into the lives of The Lance journalists: Aminah Khan, Montse Pineda, and Hansika Khokhar.
Aminah Khan is a fourth-year Biochemistry student at the University of Windsor. She has aspirations to study law. Khan is passionate about creative writing and has submitted her work to the Womxn’s Centre Voices of Women Blog and CBC News.
Her interest in creative writing transitioned into journalism, leading her to apply for a position at The Lance.
“I have always loved to write fictional work, but as I grew up, I was also intrigued by the hard work and commitment journalists put into their work,” said Khan.
Montse Pineda is a third-year Film Production student at the University of Windsor. She’s also pursuing a minor in Women’s and Gender studies and Italian.
Her interest in writing started when Pineda learned to analyze and critique films, but she also wanted to find a way to write about local stories involving artists and creatives in Windsor. So, when the chance to apply for a position at The Lance surfaced, Pineda didn’t hesitate.
“I’m thankful to share that since I joined The Lance team, I have connected with artists, influencers, entrepreneurs, and passionate people. I have met some fantastic friends through this role and collaborated with important communities involved in the arts and culture sector, like the Media City Film Festival (MCFF) and the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW),” said Pineda.
Hansika Khokhar is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Khokhar writes poems and blog posts during her free time, but she wanted to learn how to conduct interviews and write a news story, which inspired her to join The Lance.
“I have written some great stories since joining The Lance, like my story about the Prime Minister’s visit on campus, at our engineering department, or that on Jack.org and their chapter at UWindsor,” said Khokhar.
Every week, The Lance team meets virtually with the News Editor, to discuss stories submitted and new ideas for the following week. One of the tricky things about writing for a newspaper is finding a way of publishing work that would benefit the audience. However, The Lance team has a common strategy to keep the content relevant for the UWindsor community.
“I generally write about upcoming events or initiatives the university is planning. I also go through the daily news every morning to scout for future topics to write about,” said Khan.
After the News Editor approves the ideas, it’s time for the journalists to start working on an article structure based on the topic, interview questions, and interviewees to guarantee they meet the weekly deadline. The Lance team consists of students, so it’s crucial to have a consistent process that helps balance academic responsibilities with journalism work.
“The first thing I like to do is schedule time for interviews that week. I also write down backup interviewees in case of any conflict or delay. Once I scheduled all the interviews, I curate a list of questions for each person I am meeting with to be prepared and be respectful of their time,” said Khan.
“I always provide multiple communication options for interviewees because I have other responsibilities than my student journalist work, so I understand that could also be the case for them. So, when I first reach out, I thank them for their time and offer the opportunity to meet virtually if that’s easier. If they don’t have a preference, it’s always a pleasure to connect in person and discuss the story,” said Pineda.
“I love to incorporate videos more than images in my stories. So, I make sure to include time to ask for lots of media for the story. It is a super interactive way of introducing an interviewee in my story and is also interactive for the reader,” said Khokhar.
It is not always possible to complete a story by the deadline despite following the process. The reasons for this can vary from article to article, but The Lance team has a shared response.
“Getting interviews is difficult. Interviewees are not always available within the given timeframe. I had engaging and exciting story ideas that I had to replace with others or miss a week of publishing, which can represent a moment of frustration in my role as a student journalist. However, I see it as an opportunity to challenge myself to make my other ideas as engaging and exciting as the original or to connect with the News Editor and peers to brainstorm possible solutions,” said Pineda.
Once a story draft is ready, the student journalists notify the News Editor that the story is ready for review. After the editor finishes reviewing each story, which can consist of giving feedback, making edits, or asking the student to add more to the story, the student journalists review everything one more time and schedule it on The Lance website.
Being a student journalist can be demanding, but it’s a rewarding experience for each journalist. Every week, The Lance team recognizes each member for their hard work, inspiring them to bring the latest news to the UWindsor community.
“My favourite part of being a part of the team at The Lance is observing and learning from peers, as each journalist has their style and method of planning articles. It is nice to analyze their preferred topics that they like to write about, what kind of questions they ask sources, and how they scout for people to interview,” said Khan.
If you wish to keep up with the weekly stories published by Aminah Khan, Montse Pineda, and Hansika Khokhar, click on their names and visit their profiles to read all the content they have posted for The Lance and, most importantly, for you.