A tradition for 36 years, the 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.
By the end of the 2017 workshop, students had produced The Chronicle newspaper and website, and multimedia projects. The program, sponsored by the Dow Jones News Fund and Concerned Media Professionals, has been offered at the UA School of Journalism since 1981.
Alum Frank Sotomayor (’66) opened the 2017 workshop June 4 with an inspirational talk about journalism. Sotomayor told students how he began his journalism career at the Tucson High newspaper before working for the Arizona Daily Star and the Los Angeles Times, where he co-edited a series on Latinos that won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for public service.
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.
Professor Carol Schwalbe and Ethan Schwalbe co-directed the workshop, which also included a talk June 4 by Gary Shepard 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), Stefani Quihuis (story development), Alicia Vega (design) and Julian Ybarra (video).
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.