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Sprenkle discusses college media PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:45


• Leader & Times

Seward County Community College journalism instructor Sue Sprenkle recently talked about her time at SCCC so far working with her students and as advisor to The Crusader, and also talked about her expectations for contest in the spring.  

Q: Could you give me some background on yourself? (i.e. how long you’ve been with SCCC, how long you’ve been working in journalism, etc.)

A: I started at the college here last year and I’ve been working in journalism pretty much since I was in high school, I worked at the Haskell County Monitor Chief.  

Q: What originally got you interested in journalism?

A: My mother worked at the TV station that used to be outside Copeland so I would go in with her on Saturdays and kind of play around as she was working. They let me be out on the set and let me play and then it came to the point where when I was at school, my friends and I would pretend to be Barbara Walters during recess and we’d go out and do our investigative reports. So I guess you could argue being a journalist has always been in my blood. 

Q: What all do you teach at SCCC?

A: I’m kind of a mixed up teacher in the fact that I’m only teaching a few media classes at the moment and we’re working to build the media program to be more of a digital media type of program. Right now, I’m teaching some of the Bible classes, photography and pre-comp right now along with being the advisor for The Crusader. 

Q: From the journalism standpoint, what are some things you work to instill with your students?

A: What we’re working to teach right now is to do media they’re using already. Since a lot of students in the 18 to 24 years old range are already using their mobile phones a lot, we’re working to teach them how to write stories for social media, how to do shorter stories for when you’re scrolling on your phone, how to do video, things that really speak to that age group. 

Q: Why would you say those are important for the students to be taught?

A: Since our only real media class at the moment is The Crusader, the Crusader’s audience is the students, so we’re teaching them to think of their audience first and what their audience wants. 

Q: What would you say is your favorite part about working with all your students?

A: I love how at SCCC, it is very diverse. In my pre-comp class, I have students from all over the world so when we have a discussion, it’s from many different viewpoints, it’s not just Southwest Kansas viewpoints, and that’s really unique for a college this small. In my Old Testament class, we have some people who grew up in Sunday School and grew up on “VeggieTales,” and know a lot about the Bible, to people from different beliefs and religions. We’re all coming together and sharing our knowledge and talking about it all without getting angry at each other, it’s just a regular discussion where we’re all learning. 

Q: The Crusader did really well at contest last year, so what are some of your expectations for how the rest of this year will go?

A: We had big shoes to fill from Anita Reed, who took this program to national recognition so we are slowly building off our online presence where we’re doing more interactive items. We did a story I’m hoping will do well about all the languages spoken here on campus and we had audio that went with it, with each language. Another story we’re getting ready is about naps, so we learned how to do a survey on campus and our Crusader students went out, talked to more than 100 students about their nap habits and they’re learning to do data journalism. So I’m hoping our interactive presence on the web site will grow and grow. We’ll never be the New York Times, but we’re working at how those types of things work. 

Q: What are you excited for about the rest of this year?

A: I have a really fun photography class and my students there have varying degrees of experience and it’s fun watching them go from not knowing how to pick up a camera to shooting on manual, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to enter a lot of their photos at contest in the spring. Some of those students have even chosen media as their major – when the year started, there were no media majors at all. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or anything else you think would be relevant to put?

A: We hope to start having more articles and more video and audio in Spanish. With the majority of our students being Spanish-speaking, we need to reflect our school and audience, so next semester, we’re looking to have someone who is our Spanish editor and we’ll have stories posted in Spanish.




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