Where Are They Now? Ethan Sink: Journalist with a Passion for Communication

Jul 07, 2017 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Occasionally at IEW we receive questions from parents wondering if our curriculum will work for students who are interested in pursuing careers in journalism. We would unequivocally say yes! As proof, we would like you to meet Ethan Sink. Jamie Anderson, who served as the faculty advisor for the student-run newspaper for Landry Academy, recommended we meet with Ethan, whom she highly regards. Over the past four years, Ethan has worked in the newspaper as a writer and editor and this past year served as Editor-in-Chief. Enjoy reading about Ethan and how IEW has helped shape him into who he is today.

Ethan spent most of his life growing up alongside his three brothers in rural Illinois, not too far south of the Chicago suburbs. He reminisced about his earlier homeschooling years. “All of us, with the exception of the dog and the cat, have been homeschooled since kindergarten. I’ve only been to a public school to take the SAT and Driver’s Ed. When my schedule permits, I find entertainment in making music: I play and occasionally practice piano, cello, and guitar. I also write some of my own music on rare occasions when inspiration strikes.”

Recently Ethan finished up his senior year of high school. Along the way he earned a lot of dual enrollment credits as well as credit through CLEP testing. He expects all of this work to help him achieve his goal of graduating with his bachelor’s degree in two years. He plans on attending Florida College, a small Christian school near Tampa. He described it this way: “Currently, my plans for the relatively near future include a degree in organizational communication, which, I imagine, will involve quite a bit of writing. So writing and communicating will continue to be a centerpiece of my life for at least a couple more years. I'm considering preaching or potentially something related to journalism as a career, but haven't settled on anything for sure yet. Whatever route I take, I'm going to keep writing and speaking about things I care about. Like I said before, communication is a passion and a gift that I have, and I hope to use it to bring glory to God whether or not it brings money to my bank account.”

Throughout his homeschool years Ethan has completed a number of IEW courses. He recalled, “We started using IEW in our schooling around 2007 or 2008, I don't remember the exact year, perhaps when I was in 4th or 5th grade. At first, we went through the basic Teaching Writing, Structure and Style syllabus for a couple years, using our own source material. I've also used IEW's Writing Research Papers*, the Advanced Communication Series, The Elegant Essay, and the theme-based Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, and U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons (in conjunction with Classical Conversations' Essentials program, when I was in middle school).”

All of his time spent with IEW has certainly paid off, too. Ethan adds, “It's very difficult to pin down exactly how IEW has benefited me, because I basically learned how to write using IEW! I've had a passion for communicating for as long as I can remember, and IEW's Structure and Style™ method gave me a way to funnel and shape that passion. I suppose that is my favorite part about IEW; it gave me freedom to develop my own voice and to write about what I wanted to write about, while still giving me a framework to learn from.”

When asked to pick his favorite element of IEW, he didn’t hesitate. “If I had to pick one foremost technique or tool that I gained from IEW, it would be the key word outline (KWO). It's an invaluable method to coherently organize my thoughts, and I've found it useful in so much more than just a basic five-paragraph essay; I've used it in articles for the student newspaper I work on, public presentations, even song writing!! A close second to the KWO is sentence openers; those are probably the most impactful of IEW's stylistic techniques.”

So what writing style does Ethan prefer? “I always feel like an odd duck when I say this, but my favorite type of writing is journalism. That’s probably because I've been writing for The Scholar's Script (now The Patchwork Press) for the last four years, and I've just acquired a taste for it. But I like to fancy that journalism matches my personality more than most other types of writing: While I relish telling stories, I'm not a terribly creative person. Journalism allows me to tell real life stories, so rather than worrying about coming up with a story of my own, I can focus on how I tell the story.”

Ethan strongly asserts that IEW has prepared him to be a strong communicator. When asked about how IEW has helped him, he said, “There is absolutely a connection between my IEW training and my ability to communicate in other mediums! I already mentioned that I've used the KWO in my songwriting and speechwriting. In truth, I think that the KWO (as just one example) has benefited me in ways beyond outlining essays or speeches or songs. I think that it has helped me to develop the ability of narrowing a topic down to a few key points, rather than getting bogged down in the details. That's something I've used in all sorts of situations: teaching Bible class, having simple one-on-one conversations, running student newspaper meetings, debating ideas in student government (I was also on Landry Academy's student government), giving farewell speeches, and the list goes on and on. I'm able to think about what I want to say, sometimes with plenty of time to prepare, sometimes with just a few seconds, and boil it down to its essence in a few words. It's still a skill I am honing, but I definitely see IEW's influence in the way I communicate outside of writing. Many times I don't even think about how IEW has influenced the way I speak and write; for example, my previous sentence was going to be the last sentence in this paragraph, until I realized that it was a clincher sentence and decided to point it out as a perfect example.”

Ethan’s experience with IEW has benefited him in more than just his writing. It’s helped him learn to think and clarify the primary concepts in his studies. A valuable skill not only for college, but also for life, it will serve him well no matter which path he travels: preacher, journalist, or whatever else his passion dictates. Ethan, thank you for sharing your story with us. We wish you all the best as you move forward with the next stage of life and learning!


*Discontinued in November 2020

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