High school students learn journalism from college professors
June 28, 2012 · High school students visited Marshall University this week to learn about journalism and what it’s like to pursue it as a career.
Twelve students from places like Poca, Charleston and even North Carolina took part in a 4 day journalism workshop that expanded their knowledge on the field. Kristin Chung is from North Carolina and says it was something she/he had to be part of.
“I’ve seen journalism programs where I live and I wanted to be able to see a journalism program farther away, experience West Virginia and I heard they had a good program so I was interested in coming,” Chung said.
The workshop is held each year for students looking to make their local journalism programs better or who are going to enter Marshall University in the fall and is in its 4th year. The students get to stay on campus for free and eat free while also learning from college professors. Chung is interested in print journalism; she said this workshop offered a different experience than others might.
“I think it was definitely great to meet professors because you don’t get to do that at a lot of other places and really see their curriculum and it was great being able to tour the dispatch and see the radio program here, that’s really unique,” Chung said.
Burnis Morris is a journalism professor at Marshall and Director of the High School Journalism Workshop. Morris said he likes working with a small group of kids, from 10-15, to ensure they get proper attention. He said the key is to provide them with a better knowledge of what news is.
“I want them to have a better sense of what journalism is, from reading hundreds of different high school newspapers across the country, I get the feeling that many of them don’t much in the way of news, there is very little in news judgment and we want to help them understand what news is,” Morris said.
The students took part in lectures focused on digital photography, broadcast journalism, print writing and radio. They also visited and shadowed reporters for the Herald-Dispatch newspaper in Huntington. Morris said in the end he just hopes that the students come away with a new knowledge in many areas of journalism.
“We put them through a rigorous session to help them understand how to one improve their high school publications and two we have a couple of people that are going to be entering Marshall in the fall and this gives them a jump start to their college careers,” Morris said.
Broadcast Journalism Professor Chris Swindell led a discussion on ethics in photojournalism.
“These people are saying they may want to go into journalism so a really good thing is to take them and give them a dose of reality in the summer before they return to school and maybe then they can make better decisions about whether they really want to do this,” Swindell said.
Swindell said the professors hope that students will take away something that will change their impressions of journalism or help shape what they want to do with their life.
“That they find something they’re passionate about, be passionate about it and try to go out and make a change and I’m not particularly interested in what they’re passionate about, just that they be passionate in an apathetic culture,” Swindell said.
Jocelyn Gibson is a student in the workshops, and she’s from Braxton County. She said she’s set to enroll in the Journalism program at Marshall in the fall so the experience was well worth it.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity to network and meet some people from the college and get a little experience in journalism that I didn’t have previously and I enjoy writing and I think that’s what I want to do,” Gibson said.
The workshop was sponsored by the Division of Multicultural Affairs at Marshall, the Herald-Dispatch and the School of Journalism.