High School Journalism Institute 2013: Learn, create, explore

As many of my recent blog posts and stories indicate, I have just come back from the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University. I was glad to be a part of HSJI’s 67th annual workshop! About twenty students from The Chronicle staff from Mason High School went to this workshop to sharpen our journalism skills and bond as a newspaper staff.

There were various one-week courses offered such as basic reporting, feature writing, opinion writing, sports writing, editor-in-chief labs, photojournalism, TV reporting. Much of the Chronicle’s new staff this year (myself included), took the basic reporting course.
Throughout the week we listened to different lectures, conducted group interviews, wrote stories, explored the campus, and toured the Indiana Daily Student—IU’s student-run newspaper.

Here are some of my main thoughts and conclusions from the lectures:

Full coverage, with HSJI director Teresa White:
Get hyper local. Improve sourcing. Get more diverse sources of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Reach out to the “invisible” voices of the school. Talk to experts.

Reporting strategies, topics vs. stories, with IU School of Journalism Professor Joe Coleman:
Topics are static. Stories have movements. Look at the same cliché topics from different angles to come up with unique ideas for stories.

Importance of opinion pages, with editorials editor of Tampa Bay Times Tim Nickens
Editorials are credible, give context, and are important for the democracy. They are more than just random opinions of one individual—they are researched and reported to offer commentary from established newspaper organizations.

Journalism’s new world order, with Indianapolis Star photographer Bob Scheer
Although the world of journalism is changing, it will not die because people will always want good, accurate information. Diversity of skills and flexibility are essential. Learn to write, take photos, shoot videos, design. Online presence and “Google juice” are important.

Presentation across platforms, with IU Student Media Director Ron Johnson
Visual appeal is important. Tell stories with pictures. Pick the best tools for the jobs. Work across various platforms

We were also given various assignments which gave us opportunities to practice writing and get feedback from experienced instructors. (All three of my stories of the stories I wrote at IU are here: https://rashikajpr.wordpress.com/category/journalistic-writing/)

The general theme that seemed to emerge in every presentation and class was that journalism is not dying, it is merely changing. I’ve learned that there will always be a need to tell stories and convey accurate information.

Finally, the week came to a bittersweet end. Although I was sad to leave, I was so happy and proud when students from Mason High School received recognition at the awards ceremony! Check out all the achievements at: http://thecspn.com/?page_id=15

These five days at IU have been very helpful and very fun. I’m a lot more confident in writing articles and stories, and I have gotten to know many of the people I will be working with next year!


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