In The Scout’s 125 years of publication, reporters and editors have gained knowledge that has aided their professional and personal growth. Here are some of the most valuable skills that alumni learned while on staff.
Jaylyn Cook, Voice Editor from 2014 to 2015, attributes his professional development and resilience to his time at The Scout.
“The Scout taught me how to be flexible,” Cook said. “I was originally brought on staff as a reporter to cover News and Voice. While I was more interested in Voice from jump, learning the basics of competently reporting harder news stories improved my skills as a feature writer. … Learning how to do both hard news and features early was instrumental in my development and success as a journalist long after I left Bradley. In other words, I owe The Scout my career.”
Meg Dickinson, Managing Editor from 2006 to 2007, learned how to find solutions to sudden issues that she encountered in the publishing process.
“I learned how to solve problems quickly,” Dickinson said. “Our editorial cartoon fell through Wednesday afternoon of my first week as Managing Editor. I talked an artistic classmate into drawing his first-ever cartoon by that evening so we could go to print Thursday afternoon. Coming up with a backup plan in a pinch has served me well in my career.”
Hyacynth Filippi Worth, Editor-in-Chief from 2004 to 2005, learned how to determine the most important components of a story when conducting interviews.
“One of the most valuable skills I learned while working at The Scout was how to ask good questions,” Worth said. “Asking good questions leads to great interviews – most of the time.”
Dayna Brown Nielsen, Managing Editor from 1990 to 1991, echoed this sentiment.
“[I gained] the ability to interview people, ask questions and listen to what people had to say – that’s so important,” Nielsen said. “I had the opportunity to talk to so many people at such a young age, from the president [of the university] to famous people. … From a journalism standpoint, that’s crucial to any [career] you end up [in].”
Collaborating with others is a vital aspect of working in a newsroom. Lisa Stemmons, Voice Editor from 2016 to 2018, explained how she learned to navigate group dynamics at The Scout.
“The most prominent [skill I learned] has to be the ability to talk to anyone,” Stemmons said. “I developed a fearlessness when approaching people to look for quotes and that’s transferred to finding a way to connect with any of my co-workers, even if it’s not always the most pleasant interaction.”
Brett Halbleib, Editor from 1987 to 1988, says The Scout gave him a thirst for knowledge.
“What I appreciate most is how The Scout taught me the value of curiosity,” Halbleib said. “Working at The Scout made me realize how little I actually knew about … everything. I learned to nurture my curiosity and let it be a guide, which has served me well throughout my life.”
Professionalism and critical thinking
Barb Kraeger Hailey, staff member from 1985 to 1987, says the leadership she received on staff provided her with skills that she has used throughout her careers in journalism and hospital and social service communications.
“I particularly appreciated Sunday night critiques with Jerry McDowell, an editor from the Peoria Journal Star, and photojournalism Professor Howard Goldbaum,” Hailey said. “They challenged us to think and treated us like professionals. We really took the work seriously and challenged ourselves.”
Leadership and confidence
Angeline Schmelzer, Editor-in-Chief from 2021 to 2022, says being on staff helped her gain self-assurance and an ability to lead others.
“The most valuable asset I took from The Scout would be my growth as a leader and my improved confidence,” Schmelzer said. “I walked into Sisson 319 as a wide-eyed, quiet freshman copy editor, not really knowing how to properly edit the work of those who [had been] doing it longer than me. … I went from hiding in the back of the room at critique and carefully editing to sitting at the head of the table and leading editorial meetings. The Scout brings something out of you that a classroom rarely will.”