First Draft, Part two

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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patfeeney
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First Draft, Part two

Postby patfeeney » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:19 pm

I threw out my *real* first draft of my essay to write something a bit more first-person and a bit less self-centered. It's very rough, a bit long, and very outline-y. Give it a hit: Am I focusing on the right things? Can you understand my skills through this essay? Is my voice self-centered or do I hit the right note of assured yet not cocky?

1) There were forty of us cramped into the small auditorium on the forth floor of [Broadway Studio]. We were all nervous upperclassmen, rising juniors through to graduates, waiting to start a hectic summer of reporting and broadcasting in New York City. Our internship coordinator told us all to rest assured – our three months of work at [NEWS PLACE]’s New York bureau would be guaranteed. “You’ve been selected out of a pool of more than one thousand applicants,” he assuaged us. His words couldn’t help the fact that, for most of us, our only past experience had come from school media or local affiliate internships. I had come out of a year of writing for my school paper, the Ithacan. Despite being very time-consuming and fast-paced, I knew writing 800-word stories every week at school would be hard to compare to video packages and live shots in Manhattan.
2) I was assigned to work the international beat. This news team, utterly unlike any of [NEWS PLACE]’s massive primetime production squads, was limited to the reporter, two producers, and two interns. I met the reporter, United Nations correspondent [Bob] [Last Name], and his production team in his cramped office, where cluttered towers of the Daily News and the New York Times complemented the midday madness of [X] street below. [Bob] was quick to warn that we could be covering multiple different stories in a single day, depending on what breaks. However, he promised that he wouldn’t push me too hard during my first few weeks at the bureau.
3) One week later I’m standing in a 10-foot-by-10-foot roped section with twenty other reporters by the entrance to the United Nations Security Council chambers. We had been waiting for three hours, constantly refreshing Twitter feeds and news updates to get the latest information on Syria negotiations. Only days before, UN blue helmets discovered the bodies of over a hundred Syrian citizens massacred in Houla; negotiations were correspondingly tense, and quotes were a must. Once ambassadors and representatives started filing out, we’d stampede our way to the press stand and stake our positions at the rope for questions. Some days, the wait would yield no more than three quick quips from a lone envoy. Other times, press statements would stretch well into the afternoon.
4) U.N. coverage was only one aspect of a ferocious schedule that would take us through multiple stories over the course of a single week. On Monday, I would be standing on the toilet in a Greenwich village woman’s one hundred square foot apartment as [Bob]’s cameraman maneuvered around for shots. By Friday, we would be sitting in on a punitive class for sex solicitors, trying to get an interview with a former prostitute. A single tip of a soon-to-be-broken news story, like the resignation of Kofi Annan, meant rushing across town, hurriedly preparing for the inevitable live shots. In the course of a day, I’d go from helping get an interview on tape to rushing through hours of interview footage and shots, finding just the right quotes for the news package that would be compiled minutes later.
5) These experiences came to their height the day before the Belmont Stakes of 2012. We left Manhattan around 5 am for what we expected to be a series of live shots to promote the race the next day; the top horse in the competition, I’ll Have Another, had just come out of victories at the Preakness and Kentucky Derby and was expected to be the first Triple Crown winner in nearly forty years. Other than this potential victory, it would be a slow news day.
By eleven, that had changed. Only a few minutes before our last live shot of the day, our phones started going off. Word was spread among the stables that I’ll Have Another was scratching from the competition and retiring from race permanently. The huge race and impressive stakes of tomorrow’s running completely vanished; people who had dropped hundreds of dollars on tickets now had worthless stubs. Given the slow news day, our news team was one of only four already at the racetrack, but it would only be a matter of a few minutes before the park became an insane media circus.
We started making phone calls, writing notes, sending emails, trying to get in contact with the producers back in the city so we could squeeze a live feed into the morning news rounds. We finally received word that the horse’s owner and trainer would be holding a press conference at an undisclosed time. We only had one cameraman, and he was already taping [Bob]’s live shots, so a producer and myself sprinted to get our position at a small, roped-off clearing by the horse’s stable. A small number of cameras were already set up.
Despite running there, it would be another two hours the press conference. A seemingly impossible amount of cameras and reporters squirreled into the area. Not tethered by equipment, I was able to squeeze my arms through to the front of the crowd, microphone in one hand, phone in the other to send quotes back to [Bob]...
6) As a journalist, I’ve come to appreciate learning all sides of a story, regardless of opinion. More importantly, I’ve learned that to report a story is to learn all ends of it; to be as willing to read stories and updates for hours on end as to run around chasing sources. Getting the necessary information can require either endless patience or endless chaos, but the pursuit is worth it, regardless of the costs. I am applying to ___ law school because, along with interest in studying law, my past of collecting premium information at all costs gives me the tools necessary to pursue law.

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Domke
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Re: First Draft, Part two

Postby Domke » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:19 pm

I like it. It says a lot about who you are and what kind of work you can do. It definitely needs to to be shortened, I would cut most of 4. I would also suggest getting rid of the last sentence. You don't have to explain why you are going to law school and it just seems irrelevant with the rest of your PS.

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patfeeney
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Re: First Draft, Part two

Postby patfeeney » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:26 am

Natem137 wrote:I like it. It says a lot about who you are and what kind of work you can do. It definitely needs to to be shortened, I would cut most of 4. I would also suggest getting rid of the last sentence. You don't have to explain why you are going to law school and it just seems irrelevant with the rest of your PS.

Yeah. I think I'm going to restructure it overall so #5 is kind of the guiding narrative of the piece. I think that could disguise the fact that it just sort of ends.

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patfeeney
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Re: First Draft, Part two

Postby patfeeney » Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:17 pm

Do you think I need to be more specific or detailed with certain events? Does it seem that I need to add more?




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