A group of high school students from across Kent County transformed a classroom into a newsroom for a week this summer.
Over four days in July, students took part in a journalism camp hosted by School News Network and funded by a grant from the Gannett Foundation. They observed culinary, criminal justice and design camps for middle-schoolers at the Kent Career Tech Center, then interviewed students and instructors, took photos and produced stories about the trio of camps. Read articles from Journalism Camp
Though they may not all head down the reporter’s career path, the fledgling newsies — who had shown broad interests in writing and photography on their applications — certainly had a chance to see whether the shoe fit.
“It opens up the horizons of writing in general,” Comstock Park High’s Raven Lucas said. “Some people were just poetry, some people were just creative writing.”
“It’s like a gateway,” added Kayla Von Destinon, from Kenowa Hills High. “Once you start journalism, you can branch out to more types of writing.”
Seven Northview High students attended the camp in preparation for the launch of their high school’s first newspaper. Hailee Cedarquist, Megan Goetcheus, Eric Pearson, Kennedy Purcey, Claire Rose, Katie Todd and Elle Waldron will start the fall with some experience as they form the newspaper staff.
Making Journalism Relevant
Charley Honey, a member of the School News Network staff who instructed the camp, said his group of students paid closed attention to the basics of journalism, delivered through a series of lectures between activities, despite summer sunshine out the window.
“These students really seemed engaged in the work of reporting and writing their stories,” Honey said. “I loved how my group interacted with the students in the middle-school camps — they really seemed to be having fun.”
Besides exposing students to a form of writing not typically taught in high school, Managing Editor Allison Kaufman said the journalism camp helped promote School News Network to that age group.
“SNN is extremely popular among parents and school staff, and it’s growing because we are the only local media that consistently covers our public schools,” she said. “One of our next steps is to bring students into the news-gathering fold. We want to encourage them to submit their own work, to help us tell the stories of their schools.”
Journalism camp was led by Honey and other School News Network staff, including reporters Erin Albanese, Morgan Jarema, Linda Odette and Alexander Sinn.
Campers also heard from other local media professionals: Maranda from WOTV’s “Maranda Where You Live;” Steve Kelso, visual storyteller for the Kent County Health Department and formerly of WOOD TV 8; photographer Dianne Carroll Burdick; and LocalSpins.com founder and editor John Sinkevics.
Of the 15 students who attended, all said they would recommend the camp to a friend. A handful even suggested SNN host a more advanced camp for those who attended previously.
“I feel much more confident in being in my school’s newspaper club than I did before coming to camp,” wrote one.
“Learning how to write like a reporter was super helpful,” wrote another. “I can totally see how I can use the style later in life, like in school, internships and jobs.”