Reporter’s advice: Take a step back

Civil Beat’s Alia Wong says to focus on telling the story


By Lin Song

Civil Beat education reporter Alia Wong speaks to The Pinion staff.

Silvana Bautista and Sean Gleason

News is something humans cannot suddenly do without, said a reporter from Civil Beat.

Alia Wong told The Pinion staff Thursday she  is “always looking for the story, and what readers might be interested in.”

She said she has always loved writing, but knows about writer’s block.

“Writer’s blocks is definitely a reality,” said Wong, who covers the education beat for the online news site.

It’s important to get the story out there and to not get distracted by the unrelated information. Wong has experienced the problem of getting caught in tiny details until the bigger picture is forgotten.

Becoming overwhelmed can be a common problem for journalists. A solution to this, Wong suggested, is to pull yourself out. Take a step back and really consider what has to be done. Ask yourself what you are trying to say here or why does this matter if you find yourself struggling for the next words to say. Staying focused on the task at hand is important.

Journalism writing has demanding deadlines. “The pressure of it,” said Wong, is her biggest challenge as a journalist.

Another challenge Wong faces is overuse of quotes. Quotes are a common tactic used when writing for the paper. They’re important, but too much isn’t an effective way to share the story.

“Quote-sinning. It’s coined by my editor,” she said.

A good quote is “something that really captures that person’s voice,” she said.