Teens Gain Experience With Help Of Journalism Pros

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This year at the University of Connecticut, 22 teenagers, ages 16 and older, participated in the Conn. Health I-Team multimedia journalism workshop.

They are receiving advice on investigative reporting, how to report and write new stories, and basic digital journalism, for example podcasting, shooting and editing videos with professional instructors.

Since 2011, the Conn. Health I-Team has hosted high school journalism camps and close to 300 students. The purpose of this program is to train the next generation of watchdog journalists.

“I think teenagers rely on journalism a lot in this day and age, especially broadcast. We want our information quick because of all the quick, advanced technology we grew up with and are constantly seeing it upgrade,” said Sydney Pitter, 16, of  Orange, who participated in the workshop.

The workshop brings together top instructors including, Kate Farrish, an award-winning C-HIT reporter and former adjunct professor at UConn; and Marie Shanahan, an associate professor of journalism at UConn with a specialty in digital communication.  The guest lecturers included George Colli, an investigative reporter at WTNH News 8, New Haven; Steve Buckheit, a digital journalist at ESPN; and Mark Mirko, photojournalist at the Hartford Courant, among others.

Mikaela de la Cruz photo

Mikaela Romo

This year, five teenagers from Ecuador participated in the program to experience American culture, gain experience in digital journalism and meet new people from other places.

Teenagers use the different electronic devices: computers, laptops, mobile phones to communicate. They also use the different social networks, such as Instagram and Twitter.

The students were able to use their newly learned skills in classroom exercises, such as taking photos of each other, writing profiles and working in a team and producing a video story.

“I think that is an excellent program because they teach you about how can you write an article only using you phone or your computer,” said Fidelity Ballmer, who participated in the program in 2015.

With the teachers’ support, the journalism program is a good way for students to learn how journalists use different tools to tell a story.

Mikaela Romo attends San Felipe Neri High School, Riobamba, Ecuador.

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