Youth summer journalism program

BY FRANK DROUZAS Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — The renowned Poynter Institute is looking for a select group of Bay area students to participate in its high school summer journalism program.

The program, which was founded along with the prestigious institute in 1975, runs this year from June 15 – 19, and the application deadline is April 20. High school students may apply, along with students who will enter high school in the fall of 2015. Thirty-five total students are selected to attend the week-long classes at the Poynter Institute, 801 Third St. S.

“The program is a great introduction to journalism for those who are either interested in journalism or are just curious about how the news business works,” said faculty member Wendy Wallace.

“Basically we spend a week together, and if you’re interested in writing you can work hard on your writing and become better, whether you’re writing for publication or you’re just writing for yourself. Or if you’re interested in photography your photography skills will improve, and if you’re interested in journalism you’ll learn a little bit about everything!”

Students will work on one main piece of writing as the focus for the week, though there will be other exercises, Wallace said. Often the students get to work on projects in small groups, which are based on the students’ compatible skills or comparable interest. They can also take full advantage of the modern technologies available in the media today to create special projects.

“For example,” Wallace said, “if you’re a high school newspaper and you wanted to do a Google map that shows where the high school football team is playing all of its away games this year, you can do a custom Google map that would plot those other schools, and it might have information about parking or whether there’s a concession stand. So instead of writing a long story about where the football games are, you can show where the football games are.”

The program includes a variety of guest speakers including reporters and photographers as wells as web designers and graphic artists.

“Journalism isn’t just reporting and writing anymore,” Wallace attested. “We have cool visual tools we can use.”

As a bonus for the students who complete the program, they will have the opportunity to visit WTSP Channel 10 and watch the news broadcast from inside the studio for one evening.

“We’ll be sitting there about 20 feet away from the Channel 10 news anchor,” Wallace said, “and we also get to see the news from the control room where they cue in the cameras and raise the sound levels and oversee the broadcast.”

Wallace, who has been with the program for 10 years, believes that it can be beneficial to teens simply by bringing those with common interests together.

“What I find most years is that even if someone doesn’t think they want to be a journalist one day,” she said, “they enjoy spending a week with other kids who like writing or they like photography or they like design because you don’t always run across kids like that every day.”

For more information on the Poynter Institute High School Summer Journalism Program or to apply online, visit www.poynter.org/highschool

Questions? Contact Andrew DeLong, program coordinator, at 727-553-4704 or seminars@poynter.org.

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com

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