Cecil Schwalbe teaches students how to safely remove a rattlesnake. Students filmed the exercise and created news videos afterward.
A tradition for 36 years, the Donald W. Carson Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students in early June teaches teens about reporting basics, media ethics, broadcast and multimedia journalism, design and editing, and different storytelling techniques.
The program, sponsored by the Don Carson Concerned Media Professionals fund, has been offered at the UA School of Journalism since 1981. The workshop, founded by Carson, was renamed in his honor after he died on Feb. 1, 2018, at 85. Carson, a revered UA journalism professor from 1966 to 1997 and former department head, was one of the early leaders in helping diversify the nation’s newsrooms.
Another alum, Michael Chihak (’71), news director of Arizona Public Media and former publisher of the Tucson Citizen, welcomed the students on June 5 and asked them why they applied for the workshop.
“I want to be a reporter,” said Dayana Vega from Raymond J. Kellis High in Glendale. “Bless you,” Chihak responded.
Other workshop students were Nayomi Garcia, Rio Rico; Jacquelyn Gonzales, Arizona College Preparatory; Lewis (Ray) Harper, University High; Judith Hernandez, Arizona College Preparatory; Katelyn Kubly, Sahuaro; Daniela Moreno, Pueblo; Alexandra Nichols, Mesa Red Mountain; Elizabeth Noriega, Pueblo; Amber Soland, Tucson High; and Kenzel Williams, Cienega.
A few students, including Soland and Williams, said they are trying journalism for the first time, and Chihak responded that “being pushed outside of your boundaries or knowledge area is not a bad thing.
“When you are a reporter, you find that you always are out beyond your boundaries,” he said. “Because even if you are shy, you have to be able to walk up to somebody and ask them a question.”
Kubly said she plans to go to law school after college, but “I wanted to see if journalism is something I’d be interested in.” Later, Chihak told Kubly that skills developed as a journalist — including interviewing, writing and critical thinking — could help her succeed in law school.
In other sessions June 5, Professor Jeannine Relly talked about the fundamentals of reporting, including story ideas and backgrounding. Professor Susan Swanberg talked about media law and ethics, followed by beat reporting with Carmen Duarte of the Arizona Daily Star, and drones and 360-degree virtual reality journalism with Professor Michael McKisson.
Other sessions the rest of the week included interviewing, with private investigator Richard Wood; how to take video on smartphones, with alums Alan Davis and John de Dios; story brainstorming with Professor Susan Knight; design tips, with adjunct instructor Daniel Ramirez; radio boot camp, with AZPM’s Christopher Conover; writing, with Star columnist Ernesto Portillo Jr; and tips on going to college, with Paloma Boykin, academic adviser for the School of Journalism, and UA J-student Kirshana Guy.
By the end of the 2017 workshop, students had produced The Chronicle newspaper and website, and multimedia projects.
Professor Carol Schwalbe and Ethan Schwalbe co-directed the workshop, which also included a talk June 4 by Stephen Gin of Bear Essential News for Kids.
Dorm counselors and mentors were Zeina Peterson and Andrew Stieger. Instructors and mentors include Kayla Belcher (photo), Jane Bendickson (online), Danyelle Khmara (reporting), Nick Meyers (reporting), Stefani Quihuis (story development) and Alicia Vega (design).
In the past, 2013 workshop participants Ashlee Fenn (Safford) and Milton Guevara (Tucson) each won $1,000 tuituion scholarships, while 2012 workshop participant Yetzabel Rojas (Douglas) won a $1,000 tuituion scholarship. Also, 2011 workshop participant Corina Gallardo won a $1,000 writing award.