With my busy schedule this year it feels like the semester has flown by and I’m almost shocked when I look at the calendar and realize that it is already November. It is harder to believe that our JRN 400 class already is starting to come up with final project ideas.
Throughout the semester it has been progressively more difficult to come up with story ideas, as the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks grows farther away. My original idea for the final was to combine short feature stories of alumni that were on campus, attending classes in 2001. I wanted to get a real portrayal about what it was like, asking the alumni about the atmosphere on campus that day and several days after, the impact the attacks had on campus security, and whether or not they personally knew anyone that died.
But after calling more than five alumni and not hearing back from anyone, I decided that it was time to find another final project. I was discussing my dilemma in another journalism class and got very lucky. A friend overheard my conversation and mentioned the fact that she knows a Michigan State University student that lived in New York City during the attacks and still lives there today. This would be just another ordinary story with just that information, but she also is an immigrant, who moved here with her mother and father when she was 6 years old.
I thought this would make a good story package because I could interview her mother and father as well. Neither speak very good english but the girl said she could translate for me which will help.
I want to get all sides of this story, starting with the girl, Kinga, who had to start grade school immediately after moving to the United States. She did not know anyone, did not speak the language, and her family was living off of food stamps for several months after because work was hard to find. It didn’t take long for her to make the adjustment, learning the language in about a year, and joining in with her classmates. Her parents’ adjustments weren’t as smooth but they both have successful jobs now and I want to touch on that as well.
Then I will get in to the Sept. 11 attacks, and how they felt it affected the city, the country, and their own lives living in Queens. After just moving to America a couple years before that, it must have been frightening having that happen so close to where they live after just getting settled.
In addition to the print story I want to put together some photos of Kinga and her family. Some will be complementary photos that she supplies, and others will be taken by me during and after the interview.