Where Are They Now? Micah Karr: Future Journalist

Jul 06, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


The oldest of three daughters, Micah Karr grew up near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and was home educated from kindergarten through grade 12. Now in college, Micah is enjoying the fruits of her IEW education as a homeschooled student and on her way to becoming a journalist. Enjoy learning more about Micah and how her experience learning with IEW helps her excel in her college coursework.

What do you do now, Micah?

Currently I live in Dayton and go to Wright State University to study Mass Communication, which is a fancy way of saying journalism and social media work. Right now, I work for the Wright State Newsroom, which is a public relations-based news website about Wright State. Each week I write about people on campus as well as event advances and coverage. At the moment, I can write up to five stories per day.


What grade were you in when you used IEW?

I used IEW’s Student Writing Intensive Level B*, so I was likely around sixth or seventh grade. I also took IEW’s Speech Boot Camp and The Elegant Essay in high school.


How did IEW benefit you in your later studies?

The lesson I remember and use the most is the sentence opener list. Since I am writing in a journalism style (AP Style), which is fairly straightforward and there's not a lot of "fluff," it can be very boring to read if every sentence starts with the same word (a name, the name of the university, etc.). The sentence openers were particularly relevant recently, as I had to write upwards of ten stories about various faculty members who received awards for their work at Wright State. If I wasn't careful, I ended up starting every paragraph with the teacher's name, which would be exceedingly boring to read.


In what other ways has IEW helped you in college?

As a mass communication major, there's a lot of, well, communicating. I have written piles of papers, so many, in fact, that I am still using drafts of papers from my freshman year as scrap paper, and I’m now in my junior year. Having the writing skills from IEW definitely helped me write more efficiently and clearly. I've even tutored my youngest sister in her writing when she took a college-level English class.


What type of writing do you most enjoy?

My two favorite writing styles are AP Style and APA style, though I do enjoy creative writing during my free time. I actually took a creative writing class last spring, which I really enjoyed!


Do you see any connection from your IEW training to your ability to communicate beyond writing?

I certainly see IEW's impact on my writing, but the IEW public speaking class actually carried over into a college public speaking class. I still remember being a "Wizard of Uh's" during the IEW class and counted my college classmates' "Uhs" and "Ums" during their speeches! The speech outlines from IEW are very similar, if not the same style, as the ones I still use in college!


Do you have any plans for the future where writing and communicating will be needed?

Right now, I want to be a journalist. My small plan is work for Dayton Daily News, which is our biggest local newspaper, though my big dream is to work for something like the New York Times or the Washington Post. My biggest dream is that someday there will be a movie about a huge story that I broke. Think All The President's Men or The Post. A huge part of being a journalist is talking to people, so communicating and writing are both super important for work.


What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself that, regardless of the project, the first draft doesn't have to be perfect. There will always be people out there that you can ask for help and they won't judge. Editors are there to help, not hinder. Talk to your professors. Get to know them. They're people too and have a lot of wisdom to share. Also, drink coffee and get a lot of sleep. You need them both.


Utilize those sentence openers, make outlines, and find an editor. Those are great pieces of advice! We hope that you have enjoyed learning a little more about Micah. She is right. IEW is a great way to introduce your students to solid communication skills, not just in writing, but also in speaking. Micah, we wish you the best as you continue down the path towards your degree. We look forward to reading your first breaking news story!


*The Student Writing Intensive series was discontinued in November 2019 and replaced by the new Structure and Style for Students program.

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