Mount Mercy Academy senior Megan Michalski has already accomplished something that many people aspire to, but only a select few attain. Michalski is a correspondent for NeXt, a weekly section in The Buffalo News. NeXt is written by and for Western New York’s teens. Her first article appeared in the Oct. 5 edition of The Buffalo News.
Michalski has always been intrigued by writing and when she saw the announcement last May on her English teacher Pat Burns’ board about NeXt, she decided to do some research. She described the application process as a facile procedure.
“The application process was fairly simple. By early June of 2017, an email had to be submitted to the NeXt department of The Buffalo News. In the email, I had to give them a sample piece of my writing and an explanation of why I wanted to be a part of NeXt,” Michalski explained. “I also had to submit five story ideas that I wanted to work on while I was a correspondent. In mid August, I received an email informing me that I was accepted into the program.”
After her selection, Michalski had to attend an orientation that lasted for four hours. She listened to several of the writers on the staff of The Buffalo News, received handouts to help with writing and went to sessions to learn about interviewing techniques and writing ethics.
All of the story ideas come from the writers themselves. They can write on virtually anything they are passionate about. Once Michalski has an idea for an article, she emails her editor. The editor then accepts or rejects the idea. The editor provides encouragement, a word count and a desired deadline. If the article is about a current event, there is an early deadline, but if Michalski wants to write about something that interests her, there is no set deadline.
Michalski is able to write as often or as little as she likes. The editor allows the teenage writers to write on their own schedules.
Michalski was getting a little impatient to see her submitted article in print, but seeing it in print made the wait worthwhile.
“Seeing my article actually published gave me a feeling like no other. I never thought that I would be accepted into the program, and seeing it in the actual paper was so exciting. I never imagined to be published in a real newspaper,” Michalski commented.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery Michalski of Buffalo, Michalski is planning to attend Marymount Manhattan College next year. She plans to major in international studies and minor in journalism. After college she hopes to find work at the United Nations or with an organization that helps refugees or immigrants.
The invaluable experience that Michalski is gaining with The Buffalo News will not be in vain. “I hope to incorporate writing into my future career, maybe by freelancing or writing editorials for a newspaper,” Michalski commented.