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July 12, 2012
A group of the region’s top high school journalists this week got a unique opportunity to learn from professionals in the field and then put their skills to test as they worked to beat a tight deadline.
The 18 students from high schools in Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Oak Park, Bonner Springs, Kan., and Blue Valley, Kan., were part of the first Multimedia Seminar for High School Journalists. The three-day “journalism camp,” as some of the students dubbed it, began Monday at Liberty North High School and wrapped up Wednesday at Northwest Missouri State University. The seminar was sponsored by the University’s Department of Communication and Mass Media.
During two days of intensive training at Liberty North, the students gained insights and tips related to photography, videography, reporting, social media, design and the web. A number of Northwest alumni pitched in to offer their professional expertise along with staff members of The Kansas City Star. The seminar also gave the students an opportunity to interact with Northwest’s mass communication faculty and work in the department's Student Media Converged Newsroom.
A real reporting assignment Wednesday gave the students a hands-on experience in reporting a story, developing multimedia pieces related to the story and working as a team.
“The goal was to get them working in a team environment and bringing multimedia to a story, getting experience with audio, video and storytelling through those formats,” said Laura Widmer, assistant professor of mass communication.
The students were divided into three teams to pursue their reporting assignments, and each student took on a specific role within the team. Each team was then assigned a topic the students could pursue on the Northwest campus – recycling, health and nutrition, and KXCV-KRNW. Starting with interviews that had been arranged for the students, it was up to the teams to focus on an angle and produce a multimedia story based on the information and images they gathered.
The teams had a little more than four hours to complete their work.
“This is probably one of the tightest deadlines they’ve ever worked on,” Widmer said. “It was a chance to put to use the skills they’ve learned.”
Among the seminar participants were Chad Uhl and Tessa Newberry, seniors at Bonner Springs High School who will serve as coeditors of their school’s yearbook during the upcoming academic year. They produced a story about the health and nutrition initiatives implemented by Northwest Campus Dining.
Both said they were excited about the tips they picked during the seminar and were eager to practice them.
“It’s been really great,” said Uhl, who wants to pursue a career in multimedia design. “The sessions really helped me advance in things that I was average, and they just helped me become better. I learned more about Photoshop than I’ve ever learned before.”
Newberry said the seminar and speaking with faculty members opened her eyes to new career possibilities in video editing that she hadn’t considered previously.
“I’ve never had anyone to discuss all the career opportunities with,” she said. “That was really nice and I learned about a whole different field that I didn’t know.”
While the seminar cost $86 per student, the communication and mass media department awarded some scholarships to help students attend. For more information about the seminar, visit multimediaseminar.wordpress.com.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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