I sat in the same chair for about ten hours yesterday. It was an exciting time.
In the morning, Sharon and I worked on a story for the website about a 9/11 memorial at Bethpage Ballpark, and at that point, I still had quite a bit of energy, so it really wasn’t unpleasant. Then we met with Bob Herzog one last time so he could edit it, which was actually really nice.
He edited the story without losing the flavor we had created, and everything he said and reworked made sense. I was definitely glad he was a temporary Greene Team member. He was so conversational and friendly, and yet managed to teach us about sports reporting too. I was sad to see him go yesterday.
After the written piece, Sharon and I continued with the story by working on the script for our video clip, and that was and long and tortuous process, let me tell you. Script writing is not as easy as it sounds, though I believe Sharon did have fun recording it in the sound booth.
Then the real work began, sometime around six last night. We started putting the video together, which again, is more complicated than it sounds. I had never used FinalCut before, and though I got the general hang of it, anybody can just throw clips together, arranging them in a virtually pleasing, coherent, concise way is not something I have the hang of yet.
I’m still working on it, though. This morning, Sharon and I are trying to finish off the video. We need to learn how to put “lower thirds” into the video, and just get some general aid and hopefully, we should be done shortly. Fingers crossed!
(Quick update: We’re done! The story is finished and we’ve had pizza for lunch.)
Stony Brook’s Senior Associate Dean of Admissions Robert Pertusati came to speak to us about college which was actually really helpful. I don’t have any clue what I’m doing when it comes to college admissions, so any advice I can get is good advice. And I actually find it kind of exciting. It’s like a giant race, one in which hundreds of thousands of teenagers are running. I’m naturally very competitive, so the idea just kind of appeals to me. Just the idea, though—I don’t think I’ll be crazy about the process of being accepted or denied!
By the way, in case my title gets edited, I just want to make it clear I do not consider myself a skilled multimedia reporter. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just following Newsday reporter Lauren Harrison’s advice —Fake it ’til you make it.)
The lectures are over, the articles posted, and the week-long Greene program will officially close in less than 24 hours.
And wow, what a week it’s been.
As is said in the bio Reid wrote of me, journalism is not my primary passion – the reading and writing I’ve always loved has been fiction and flowery language. The creative writing class in my high school was linked to a journalism one, but, even then, my interest in journalism was rather secondary.
This week, however—holding a microphone and interviewing randoms in “man on the street” segments, researching and writing, asking questions in a press conference setting, working the tech board in a television studio—has been enlightening.
It’s hard, even, to pick highlights to reflect on here. From all the special guests and unique opportunities of the week, so many stand out. (And, additionally, writing this blog has really been a blast).
Reporting at the Ducks game and in all formats throughout the week (at the Emergency Operations Center, the Shawn Heilbron press conference, last night’s “man on the street” segments) has been my favorite. It’s not so much of a stretch from what I already love—as president of Massapequa’s Drama Club, I’m no stranger to improv, which is what the interviews mostly came to be. Still, holding the mic and asking questions was a rush each time.
SBU! (Photo Credit: Courtney Taylor~)
The aspects of journalism I had been unfamiliar with also ended up being intriguing and enjoyable—photography and film, for example—and the teachers of those lectures really made them easy to understand (professor Ricioppo for film and John Williams for photography).
The week has been jam-packed with special guests from the field: Bob Herzog, who brought sports journalism to life; Matt Clark, the investigative journalist who truly piqued my interest (I’ve always wanted to write, of course, but after seeing the movie “Agent Cody Banks” when I was a kid, I became crazy about the idea of being a spy—this seems to be the perfect blend of the two); Sandra Peddie, another investigative reporter, busting crimes and getting to the bottom of things (while also being an engaging speaker and intriguing professional).
Speaking to people pursuing journalism in the real world has been enlightening, and hearing their stories furthered my interest in journalism from secondary to, perhaps, a bit higher.
While the special guests of the week were exciting and interesting for the bits they were here, the professionals I was with for the entirety of the week—Professor Ahmad, Professor Duffy and Professor Dowdy—were incredibly informative and interesting in their own rights, teaching us the business that they themselves are passionate about.
Sitting down this morning to edit my piece with professor Duffy and professor Dowdy was an extremely valuable journalistic experience, as their classes on writing have been throughout the week.
And, of course, as member of Team Wasumsauce, I’ve really enjoyed professor Ahmad’s courses on blogging (three blog posts in one day, so, clearly) and the photo side of journalism, as well as his guidance on our group’s stories. Outside of his intriguing courses, I’ve had a great time as a member of his team: working at the Ducks game, going on an impromptu tour of campus after we all missed the bus and hearing about his experiences in the field.
Outside of class altogether, I’ve met a ton of interesting, intelligent and all-around cool people in this program, and being on a real college campus has been an eye-opening experience as well.
So, with the week coming to its finale (finishing off with a movie and tomorrow’s closing ceremonies), I’d be amiss if I left out my thoughts on journalism altogether after this week.
I don’t know where to begin—it’s exciting, it’s thought-provoking, and I know now that I would find my life lacking without pursuing journalism in some avenue—a minor, a double major, who knows?
Nevertheless, the Greene Program has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I learned to use a camera from a Pulitzer prize winner on the first day, amongst all the other extraordinary opportunities the program has given me—that certainly doesn’t happen every day!
I come away from the program with skill, interest and a heightened love for written word—the Greene legacy, fulfilled.
I’m tired but up and quacking out after covering last night’s LI Ducks game. Covering an event is much different than attending an event. I always wondered about that when I saw a press team or photographers at a sporting event or concert. The game was fun in a really different way because you have a completely different perspective while working rather than attending; every time I was in foul territory and wandered off trying to snap a good picture, I felt a fear of getting hit by a ball.
Early into the reporting, I snapped a shot of a grown man with a “quacker” in his mouth, getting the crowd excited. Then he ran off chasing somebody that I’m assuming he recognized. Towards the end of the night, I remembered that when somebody is clearly identifiable in a picture you need his or her identity and I panicked; my eyes started racing through the general area where I caught the picture and I couldn’t find him. Then I noticed a man setting up a group of people for a picture and when I turned around I found the man taking a picture! Thus I got his name and where he is from. It was a a quacktastic evening from pictures to interviews to getting dirty looks from a couple die-hard Duck fans as I searched for a Bridgeport Blue Fish fans in what clearly appeared to be a home cozier than a pond for these Ducks.
Before the field trip, I must include that Newsday’s own Bob Herzog talked to us about his career covering sports and also about sports journalism, which in a way I think of it as a basis because everything else you that one can cover is sort of his or her “sport” and there are specific aspects that primarily pertain to sports reporting, but if you change the subject those techniques can help other types of reporting. After Bob’s lesson, Connie Conway gave a quick lesson that followed with a lot of hands on about television news.
Before the game, we visited Newsday and got to see how vast it is. Bob came along with us to Newsday (and the Ducks game), inside Newsday there were some writers and editors working quietly, but they were also welcoming. We also got to partially see the printing press at Newsday and learn about the paper’s history. Honestly, I didn’t know how large of a paper Newsday is, which made the experience so much cooler getting to know about its growth. All in all, the day was a fastball with a drop of knowledge that fit just right.
This is me speed blogging, so let’s see how it goes.
Yesterday was a day out of the newsroom, which was a very welcome change. We started the day talking to sports reporter Bob Herzog, who had photos and anecdotes and advice to share with us. Though I’m not looking to become a sports writer, what he said had universal applications, and besides, I’m always up for a good anecdote, no matter the subject.
Herzog then came with us to visit Newsday’s working newsroom. We were able to watch real journalists at work, and in addition to those who actually sat in front of us, it was impossible not to think of all of those journalists who came before them, as the building seemed to radiate historical value.
After Newsday, we continued on to a Long Island Ducks game, where we tried our hand at impromptu interviews, coming up with a story at the game and then approaching random fans to interview. The experience was not as boring or as unpleasant as I had thought. In fact, I kind of liked it.
The first few interviews were slightly awkward, but by the end of the night, things were going considerably smoother. Most people were more than willing to talk to us, and as we became more comfortable interviewing, we were better able to make those we interviewed more comfortable.
I did encounter some trouble last night, and in a form I never expected: ice cream. Ice cream is supposed to be enjoyable, a summer treat, if you will, but last night, it was working against me. My ice cream melted so fast I could not control it. By the time I finally got the dripping mess under control, the fingers of my right hand were sticking together, I had sprinkles in my shoes, and I was thoroughly displeased. I don’t care how much it costs. I would rather get a manageable amount of ice cream that is easy to eat than a boatload of it that lands mainly on the pavement. But I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me.
Don’t worry about me though. I eventually conquered that ice cream and was only temporarily inconvenienced.
The whirlwind day started in Stony Brook’s Studio B, where Prof. Conway showed us the ropes of TV news.
In a word: amazing.
I got to play at being an anchor, film a newsbreak, play on the soundboard and be tech director in the booth. Anchoring was a tad nerve-racking (despite my teleprompter blunders, I do know how to read, I swear), but the best job by far was tech director. Clicking buttons to switch cameras and move effects onscreen probably doesn’t sound all that fun, but you’ll have to take my word that it was a blast.
Next in the day’s long line-up was a talk on covering sports with Newsday Reporter and Editor Bob Herzog. While I’m certainly not a sports person, I found his to be one of the most interesting presentations of the week.
From there, it was off to Newsday to see what a real newsroom and other aspects of real-life journalism looked like. Seeing the timeline stretching around the halls was eye-opening as well – who knew that the paper on my dining room table each morning had such a rich history?
What was especially intriguing was the session after we walked the halls. In a special tour room, various Newsday professionals came in to tell about their jobs and answer questions. While each testimony was valuable, my favorite was that of Matt Clark, investigative reporter. The job sounds not only super-cool (he recounted a story he’d uncovered about a multi-state movie theater scam) but genuinely rewarding as well.
And next on the itinerary was a Ducks game at Bethpage Ballpark – Ducks v. Bluefish after the Ducks’ ten-game losing streak (pft, and I said I wasn’t a sports person). My team, Team Wasumesauce (as in “awesome sauce” with Prof. Ahmad’s name in front – I was pushing for “Wasim’s Dream Team,” but I digress) was covering the supposed rivalry between the two teams. The issue, however, was that Bluefish fans were nowhere to be found (that is, until the tail-end of the night, when a man in a Bluefish hat and shirt came to save the day).
As a reporter for that segment, my job involved asking random people if they’d like to be interviewed (or, for a large chunk of the beginning, if they were Bluefish fans – the answer a resounding “no”). Approaching people in the ballpark and asking them questions on camera ended up being a ton of fun. It felt like a real and serious job. (I even tried to speak in my best television voice, picturing the reporters on CNN.)
The team gathered useable material and some great soundbites about the rivalry between the teams (one man insisted he ate, slept, and breathed Ducks – even quacking at random).
I can’t tell much about the game itself, other than the fact that I had a great time (and got some great ballpark popcorn). I can’t wait to put the Ducks story together with my team and see how the final product comes out.
On the ride home, after a night of reporting and laughing, Prof. Herzog regaled us with another talk on sports reporting, and the techniques he uses to tell a different story each time (even though, to a non-fan like myself, sports games don’t seem all that different from one another).
While I can’t say I plan on becoming a sports reporter, the stories about his career were incredibly interesting. Prior to his lecture, I would have written sports journalism off as something bland and monotonous. Bob Herzog’s stories, however, bring that field to life in a genuinely exciting light.
I’ve learned so much so fast – I feel like a real journalist at work!
I can’t believe the week is already half over. Yesterday was jam-packed with ducks, cameras and good advice. The first thing we got to do was practice filming in front of a real broadcast studio. We each got our turn to play the anchor, the cameraman, floor manager, and more. Being on-camera wasn’t too much pressure, but I actually liked being at the teleprompter the most. It was really cool to see how broadcasting really works, and I loved seeing everyone laugh and have fun on camera.
Next, we visited Newsday to see the facility and talk to some journalists employed there. I was surprised at how huge the newsroom actually was. Everyone from sports writers to entertainment writers were hard at work. We even got some free t-shirts for our travels.
After visiting the newsroom, we sat down to hear some guest speakers. We listened to four or five journalists who spoke about their experiences, and how we could become better journalists. Each and every story was so inspiring and everyone seemed to genuinely love their jobs.
Following our Newsday tour, we drove straight to the Long Island Ducks game. I had never been to a Ducks game before, so I didn’t realize the amount of people that would come to support the team. Families, little league teams, couples, and loyal fans were just some of the enthusiastic fans that sat in the seats of the Bethpage Ballpark.
We got to work right away, beginning with a quick press conference with Ducks Media Relations & Broadcasting Manager Mike Polak. Everyone in the stands looked at us as we wore our green “Greene” shirts labeled “PRESS” on the back. I think the Newsday backpacks gave people a false impression that we worked for Newsday, but that was just fine to me. Once the game started, we got right to interviewing.
We interviewed about five or six fans on the rivalry between the teams, the Bridgeport Bluefish and the Ducks. It was fun filming B-roll, or background shots/action, because we got to watch all the diverse and interesting fans. The only downside was since I volunteered to film that day, I had to carry the camera, camera bag, and tripod everywhere we went.
Once we were finally finished interviewing, we left the game a little early. On the 45 minute bus ride home, we relaxed and listened to Bob Herzog talk about life as a sports writer.
After we got off the bus, we spent some time in the dorm’s recreation room, and played ping pong and pool with some of the students from the math program. Yaya and I walked up to our room like zombies, and crawled into bed to relieve ourselves of exhaustion. We woke up today again, at 6:30 a.m., and now we are blogging, at 8:37, at it again.
Share this ...
The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists