This semester, Teaganne Finn ’16 launched the HWS chapter of a national media network called The Odyssey, giving Hobart and William Smith students a new opportunity to report on and share their opinions about a wide range of current topics and issues.
Geared toward college students, The Odyssey is a social content platform that’s focused on opinion and editorial pieces written by students, for students. At HWS, The Odyssey joins other student-produced publications such as The Herald and the martini.
The Odyssey’s coverage varies depending on interest, and can range from musings on cuisine and social scenes to everything one might need to know about pumpkin spice lattes. Ideas are crowd sourced from millennial-thought leaders in local communities.
“The writing community on campus is already established but adding The Odyssey is just one more way for writers to practice their skills and love of writing,” says Finn.
A writing and rhetoric major with a minor in media and society, Finn says the initial success of the publication has been significant and that interest has increased throughout the semester. The Odyssey at HWS currently features a staff of 17 students, which includes 16 writers and a social media director. Each member of The Odyssey team at HWS submits one story a week. Finn edits all the pieces.
“Writing and constructing articles for a website or a magazine is a dream I’ve had basically for my entire life, and by writing for The Odyssey and having the agency I have to create whatever I want, I’m really achieving what I’ve always aspired to do,” says Rebecca Sloane ’17.
Sloane says the opportunity to be a writer for The Odyssey has enhanced the professional qualities she can bring to the table for internships and jobs. She says being able to provide professional writing samples has given her a competitive edge when engaging with potential employers.
“All of the writers on staff are amazing,” says Finn. “They each have a different writing style and different interests, which make for great stories. This semester has been awesome and I hope to continue growing the staff.”
The national platform for The Odyssey was established in 2014 and has shown tremendous growth since its launch. It currently has a presence in more than 350 communities, including the media team at HWS.
“At first I was nervous to take on such a large role but I am so glad that I did,” Finn says. “I love helping the writers come up with story ideas and collaborating with everyone.”
In addition to launching The Odyssey and holding the role as editor-in-chief, Finn recently worked as an intern with The Finger Lakes Times.
Finn’s assignments and guidance from the editors at the Finger Lakes Times have given her opportunities that have enhanced her journalistic experience. She covered a variety of stories in the Finger Lakes region, including Hollywood producer Deanna Shapiro’s latest film, “Days of Days,” and a lecture from author Alison Weir about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
She credits her public speaking course and one-on-one mentoring from Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Cheryl Forbes as helping to bolster her writing and communication skills. She also works as a student writer in the Office of Communications.
“What I love about journalism is talking to people and hearing their stories,” Finn says. “Journalism is hard to master, and I believe the intensive writing improved my skills.”
The Odyssey is interested in welcoming new writers and currently has an open application process. Students can apply online at http://theodysseyonline.com/apply. Finn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.