For the past 10 years, high school students from across the Twin Cities have been coming to the University of St. Thomas to attend ThreeSixty Journalism’s summer camps.
The experience is a kind of laboratory experiment for the students who participate. It mixes the teenage youthful spirit with a dose of gender, age, ethnic and income diversity and a chance to work together as journalists with professionals in the field.
Image: Yusra Mohamud from Minnetonka High School participated in the Intermediate Camp in 2011.
African immigrant, Asian, Latino, African-American and white teens in grades nine through 12 come together for two to four weeks with two things in common: a curiosity about the world and an interest in telling stories with words, video and photos.
“I learned how to make a video, the basics of broadcast and web journalism, to accept other people for who they are and to focus on my goals and not let anything stop me,” says Shanice Brown, a 2010 Intermediate Camp participant. (Pictured)
At ThreeSixty Journalism’s camps, students learn about the importance of free speech, how to come up with a story angle, how to interview and ask good questions and how to write in journalistic style. Workshops are taught by professional journalists, St. Thomas professors and ThreeSixty Journalism staff.
Camp organizers assert the camp is all about hands on preparation where each student produces a published story and short video by the end of camp. Students also tour local newsrooms to see what a career in journalism looks like. By participating in the camps, students are able to compete for a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to study journalism at the University of St. Thomas.
Additionally, the students’ works are published online at www.threesixtyjournalism.org and in a print magazine sent to more than 200 schools.
This summer, ThreeSixty Journalism offers three camps. A two-week intermediate camp from June 17 to 29 is for teens with experience on a school publication and want to expand upon their skills. Students in this camp live in the St. Thomas dorms and have their articles published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press.
For those who want to learn the basics of journalism and explore what the field is all about, there is a four-week introductory camp from July9 to Aug. 2. A two-week camp from July 9 to July 20 offers teens interested in sports an opportunity to learn sports reporting.
ThreeSixty touts its successful alumni including Sisi Wei, who creates interactive graphics for the Washington Post, Dymanh Chhoun who was recently hired at KTTC-TV in Rochester, and Ibrahim Hirsi, who covers school board affairs in Meriden, Conn.
Students interested in attending a journalism camp can apply online at www.threesixtyjournalism.org/summercamps2012. There’s a fee for each camp, but students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch are given full scholarships.