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Journalism kids do better

02 Aug Journalism kids do better

For eight times this past summer, I had the pleasure and honor of working with some of the nation’s finest students at summer workshops. In five states, at various hotels, universities and high schools we designed pages, took pictures, produced websites, developed ethical policies and reviewed media law.

Check out this website from the Dallas County Gloria Shields All-American workshop. Almost three dozen stories, photo galleries, video stories, sound clips, timelines and other material produced on site from scratch using free utilities. Except for a $15 utility to convert WMV files to MP3 files, it didn’t cost us anything. (And I’m sure I could have found a free utility to convert those files if I had time, which I didn’t.)

Check out these photos from the Yearbook NV workshop at Westfield High School in Centreville, Virginia. The students in this class brought in chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. They knew how to have fun and, I hope, learned how to improve not only their yearbook photography and color correction skills, but how to better manage their staff.

If you want to see some really impressive examples of editing and design, check out the work produced by the Dow Jones News Fund interns at the Center for Editing Excellence workshop at the University of Texas at Austin. For more than a decade, Griff Singer, Amy Zerba and Beth Butler and I have had fun — and learned a lot ourselves — while working with these most-talented interns. CLICK HERE

Anyone who doubts that there are quality students coming out of modern high schools and college should look at their work and observe the passion they show for doing quality reporting, writing quality stories, taking high-quality, photojournalistic images, producing top-notch designs or engaging in online appropriately.

In Miami this year, we revamped our strategy. Lori, Randy and I took the students out to South Beach first — after a briefing — and got them to start reporting early. Then we went back and produces yearbook / magazine spreads. The students developed their leadership skills, learned about working in new teams and struggled, as all journalists do, to meet deadlines.

In all, I’d say it was a good summer. I hope the dozens and dozens of students I worked with learned something. I know I did. At every workshop, with every staff, even working with the students, I learned new ways to teach, new techniques and new software. That’s what summers are for, after all — learning.

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