High school student learn journalism skills at diversity workshop

Fred Araiza, a photographer at the Arizona Daily Star, shares the photo he took with Lexie Alvarez, a Tucson High School student and participant in a 10-day diversity workshop sponsored by the University of Arizona School of Journalism. (Photo by Iman Hamdan)


With camera in hand, Fred Araiza, a photographer from the Arizona Daily Star, ventured across the University of Arizona campus June 2 in triple-digit heat.

Trailing nearby were 15 high school students from across the state as Araiza gave them some real-world experience in photojournalism. 

Araiza's photography seminar was the start of the 10-day Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students that runs through June 10 sponsored by the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

The workshop, in its 31st year, is funded by the Dow Jones News Fund. The workshop’s goal is to teach journalism skills and ethics to students from diverse communities. 

During the workshop, students cover news, issues, and trends throughout the Tucson community concerning teens and other individuals for a blog and for The Chronicle, a 12-page newspaper produced by the students. Each workshop participant is paired with a current UA journalism student, who acts as a mentor. The students work closely with their mentors by pitching stories to simulate how a real newsroom functions.

In addition, students sharpen various skills after sitting in workshops taught by UA professors. The topics include: reporting, interviewing, editing, blogging and video editing. 

Students come to the workshops with different goals.

“I am really interested in print journalism,” said Lexie Alvarez, a Tucson High School student. “I would like to mostly improve on my writing.”

Fellow participant Kenzie Hawley, of Seligman, agreed, but added that she is most interested in photography. “I want to capture that one shot that everyone is in love with.”

Beyond the students’ active participation, the other goal of the workshop is to help promote diversity in the nation’s newsrooms. A series of guest lecturers, who will address participants in person and via Skype, will address the question ‘What Does Diversity Mean to Me?’ They include: Michele Salcedo, an editor with The Associated Press’ D.C. bureau and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; Jimmy Boegle, editor of the Tucson Weekly and diversity chair for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia; Mari Herreras, a senior writer who covers the Hispanic community and news for the Tucson Weekly; Lupita Murillo, reporter from KVOA News 4; Teresa Jun, news anchor and reporter from KOLD 13 and Fox 11 and the co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association–Arizona chapter; and Sarah Garrecht Gassen, editorial writer with the Arizona Daily Star. 

On June 10, Abe Kwok, senior manager of the Arizona Republic’s online platform and co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association-Arizona chapter, will be the program’s closing speaker at the graduation ceremony. 

Other sponsors of the workshop include Concerned Media Professionals, a Tucson group promoting diversity in newsrooms; the UA’s Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs; and the Asian American Journalists Association, which is offering a cash prize at the graduation ceremony.

“At graduation, the two best stories that we print in The Chronicle will win cash prizes,” said John de Dios, workshop director. “First place will receive $200 and second place will receive $100, so it gives the students a little extra incentive to put their best work on the table.”

Workshop participants include: Marissa Alejandre, Lexi Alvarez, Samantha Neville, Jose Rivera and Nicholas Trujillo, Tucson High Magnet School; Celene Arvizu, Yetzabell Rojas and Maria Urquidez, Douglas High School; Varun Bajaj, Gilbert High School; Kathryn Burney, Horizon High School, Phoenix; Carolyn Corcoran, Sunrise Mountain High School, Peoria; Hayleigh Daugherty, BASIS Scottsdale; Kenzie Hawley, Seligman High School; Sierra Schulze, Youngker High School, Buckeye; and Rachel Worthington, Prescott High School.

— By Iman Hamdan


Published Date: 

06/05/2012 - 12:27pm