As the week nears a close, work on The Greene Gazette has been chugging right along. Yesterday was devoted to newsroom work: calling sources, working on videos and writing, writing, writing.
I had the opportunity to go into the sound booth and record the tracks that will play over our broadcast piece on new campus cop cars. Being in there was both super cool and super weird—does anyone’s recorded voice actually sound that way in real life? I’m concerned.
(Funny enough, my family tried to FaceTime while I was in the booth and got a quick tour of the sound system and downstairs newsroom before I had to get back to work. So really, the day was filled with writing and a quick update on why my parents should not have bought a huge sound system for my brother.)
I also had the opportunity to get the profile I’d written on Reid, edited by Newsday copy editor Goodwin Anim. The experience was so valuable, since he really broke down what I did right in addition to what needed to be fixed.
It was a serious and authentic newsroom today—the clacking of keys sounding throughout.
I actually managed to finish my written assignments relatively early in the evening and was able to leave the newsroom to get “man on the street” interviews with the help of Frank Posillico, an online photo editor for the New York Daily News.
That trip was definitely the highlight of the day. I got to explore the campus a bit and hear more about the field from Frank. That late in the evening, most students weren’t milling around the library and lounge, but we were able to get two pretty good interviews (though most people we asked turned us down…hmph).
(The last student interviewed gave such a perfect soundbite, it was like a hallelujah chorus started playing when he spoke.)
It was a great little trip around campus—which, as I’ve noted in nearly every blog post, is really so pretty—and I learned a lot talking to Frank.
Back in the newsroom, it was time for my piece to be edited in preparation for publication. Certainly a valuable experience in journalistic form and proper style, but I don’t think I have it in me to be a real-deal journalist, seeing as every time a sentence I liked was cut, I gave a little internal scream of “nooooooo!”
It’s been a learning experience all around. We’re back at it again today to pull it all together before the site goes live tomorrow, and then it’s off to Stony Brook’s film festival.
We’re still in the thick of it in the newsroom, as it is the last workday, but I’m enjoying blogging too much to move right on without some more posting. Sure, I could move right to the final post, but where’s the fun in that?
Waking up this morning was an absolute drag. (The Greene girls gathered last night for a game of Cards Against Humanity—I fell asleep around two in the morning. Oy.) The penultimate night was a ton of fun—we made friends with math camp kids in the lounge (and made a failed attempt to play a huge game of cards) and just generally hanging out with members of the Greene Team.
Despite the super-grogginess, the business and general busy-ness in the newsroom provided a quick jolt of energy—it was out of bed and back into the zone.
My article is all wrapped up after an editing session with professor Duffy and professor Dowdy. In our time at their desk, I learned a lot about journalistic parameters and exactly how a concise, professional article should be written. Now that’s indicative of the program—in just a short part of the day, I took in so much knowledge. With the week ending, I feel like I’ve learned an absolute ton.
After working all morning, we were treated to pizza—real, non-cafeteria pizza—and reflected on the program and our thoughts coming away from it. I’ll save those thoughts for my final sappy post—as I’ve said, my article is finalized.
After our delicious-perfect-wonderful lunch—did I mention the pizza was good? Because the pizza was really, really good—the Greene Team met with Robert Pertusati, senior associate dean of Admissions at Stony Brook. He discussed not only admission to Stony Brook, but things to keep in mind when applying to any college.
It was informative, useful and anxiety-inducing—essentially my thoughts on all college chats—but to talk to a professional on the subject was all the more meaningful.
It’s only three and the newsroom is buzzing—journalism students and Frank Posilico are back to help in the Gazette’s production. My work is done and it’s exciting to watch the process from afar. It’s almost a little nerve-wracking to view and observe, but I can’t wait to see the final product.
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.
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!
We got right onto the world of a real journalist today. We were on our way to the interview with Assistant Police Chief Eric Olsen without even knowing who Eric Olsen was or what he did. Professor Ahmad said it happened all the time – sometimes journalists have to work on the spot and don’t have time for research or to prepare. We missed the bus that took us to Stony Brook’s police station, where we had the story. It was a half hour walk, which was in the heat, and brutal. It went relatively quick because we had to do all our research for the story on our walk. We came up with questions, walked up hills and streets in the blazing sun carrying all of our video equipment, being true journalists on the job.
We got into the police station (eventually) sweating with and thirsty, but ready to start the interview. We met with the chief of police, Robert Lenahan, and all acted as a team all doing different things to conduct an interview. I was in charge of taking pictures of the interview. In the second interview, I got to videotape and was in control of all the shots, which made me feel in control and able to express my own ideas with my group members. We shot a lot of B-roll with the interviews which I was already comfortable with from previous TV classes at my school.
The eventful day and heat continued as we finished the interview. We had to walk back to the library as we missed the bus, again. This walk was easier and quicker than the first because we all weren’t as tense to how we were going to go on the scene to write this story.
Since we missed the bus both ways to the police station, Professor Ahmad said he would treat us to Starbucks. Well, since our transportation didn’t go well the entire time of the interview why would anything go right? Right? Right. Starbucks was closed and we continued the journey of heat back to the library. We eventually got to the SAC and took a breather after a long and sweaty walk and decided to capture the unexplainable journey with none other than a selfie.
Reid Rubio comes to the 2014 Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists program with impressive skill. Only a sophomore, he was chosen to join Westhampton Beach High School’s broadcast journalism class—a seniors-only program.
Since then, his skill has only grown: as a part of the weekly “Hurricane Watch” program at his school, he has worked in editing, both as an anchor and as director of installments. The program was his first experience in journalism, and he instantly immersed himself and was surprisingly adept at each task given to him, he said.
Teacher Kirsten Philips, who selected Reid for the program, can attest to this.
“Reid is by far one of the best broadcast journalism students in my class this year,” she said. “I recommended him for this program because I believed that it would be a perfect match for him.”
A perfect match it was: In an installment of “Hurricane Watch,” Reid was able to create his favorite “package”—a piece on the Winter Olympics of 2014, in which he used a green screen and created his own virtual set.
In other packages as well, Reid has been able to develop new skills in all avenues of journalism, particularly digital news and other new media outlets. A valued member of “Hurricane Watch,” Reid is a talented student with a passion for well-told news stories.
Outside of his past experience, Reid, a rising junior, comes to the Greene program with an important task: he arrives at Stony Brook this summer to determine whether pursuing journalism in college is the right path for him.
“I am actually in this program to find that out for myself,” he said.
While he does enjoy journalism, he is conflicted about whether or not he would enjoy it as a lifelong career. This summer will not only be important in enhancing journalistic skill, but in paving the path to his future.
His mother, Stacy Rubio, said she can also see the value in Reid attending the Greene program: “I believe that this program will be a great decider for Reid to see whether or not he will pursue a career in this field in the future.”
His broadcast teacher, Mr. Philips, informed him that the Greene program would be “a blast,” as did peer Emma Galasso, a Greene Team alumna from Reid’s school.
“She said that I would shine out at this camp and believes I have a career inside of it.” Reid said, a smile on his face. After this summer’s program, his answer will be determined and, perhaps, a career in journalism pursued.
Reid had an answer at the ready when asked about his favorite journalist.
“Robin Roberts,” he said enthusiastically. “She is such an inspiration with her amazing stories of how she brought “Good Morning America” to being one of the most-watched morning news programs in the nation. My mom got to meet her last month, and [she] told me all about just how great of a person Robin really is.”
The written word is not his only passion, however—he has an athletic side as well. Reid is a year-round competitive swimmer for Westhampton Beach’s varsity swim team, as well as a swimmer for Islanders Aquatics.
Many people might find planning for the future a scary topic. However, the future is clear to Courtney—receiving her doctorate in English literature.
Although Courtney is planning on pursuing an English major degree, she’s currently in the Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists program at Stony Brook University.
When asked why she chose a journalism camp, Courtney responded, “My interest in journalism began when I took a creative writing class last year at my school that was linked to a journalism one. I had never been interested in journalism before, but the class piqued my interest and made me want to learn more.”
Being 17 years old and going into her senior year in high school, Courtney faces the pressures of choosing the right colleges for herself after her final year in high school while juggling living at home with five siblings and trying to get her schoolwork done.
With all of these challenges, Courtney’s family knows her goals and shares her vision.
Lauren, Courtney’s older sister, said, “Courtney’s always loved to write, so she’ll definitely enjoy being at Stony Brook learning at the journalism camp.” Sandra, Courtney’s mother, said Courtney has had a passion for writing from a young age.
“In first grade, she’d bring stories she wrote to school and have the teacher read them during ‘circle time’ —so, she’s always been interested in writing,” her mother said.
Based on her older sister and her mother’s opinions it is clear that Courtney has always had a talent for writing.
Courtney, who currently attends Massapequa High School, has written many articles and papers that have been published in her school newspaper, which shows a commitment to a higher standard of writing. Courtney finds inspiration in Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America.”
She thoroughly enjoys watching him on the news and hearing everything he has to share with the public. When Courtney isn’t spending time at school, she likes to pick up on some of her hobbies.
“My hobbies include reading, writing and acting,” Courtney said, adding, “I’m president of the drama club at my high school.”
All of her hobbies have helped to guide her in making a decision to major in English literature. Courtney believes there is truth in the saying that everything you do paves the way for what you are going to do in the future, including the Journalism Camp.
Timothy, Courtney’s father agrees: “I remember reading Robert W. Greene’s work and since Courtney is a writer too, I’m really proud of her for getting a place in such a program.”
Day two continued with a final photography lesson with John Williams. Farewells were a tad sad, but we learned a lot in two days and it was great. I think the highlight of the day was being in the newsroom learning about broadcast and just as Professor Ricioppo finished his lesson Professor Ahmad rushed in and told us that we had to go cover our first story. In seven minutes he gave us background on what we were about to cover: a new emergency operations center is being built in the University Police center and we get to break the news. (By we, I mean the team of Kelly, Courtney and Jaqueline). Then Prof. Ahmad mentioned that we missed the bus and we had to walk a solid 27 minutes, which helped us prepare but the sun was scorching and halfway through I felt like a nomad with false hope of a destination. We made it in time and reporting was really fun.
After 2 hours of reporting, we missed another bus! Our timing was on point. As We started our journey back to the newsroom Professor Ahmad started sharing his career and different experiences he’s had.
Noting the disappointment of having to walk with the equipment, he offered Starbucks on him and we grew a bit joyous only to find a closed a Starbucks. I found the situations quite comical and thankfully we made it to the newsroom soon after with the relief that we were just in time for dinner.
Two blog posts in one day – and what a day it’s been!
Today was our last photography session with John Williams and, despite yesterday’s epic photo fail, I was pictured in and took pictures that were of semi-decent quality. Progress!
Afterwards, it was off to a film lesson that led into something of a frenzy – all of a sudden, it was time for my team to pursue the interview for our big story – subject not researched, questions unprepared, and bus across campus missed. Oops.
On our walk to the police station, Professor Ahmad filled us in on the story: in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Stony Brook created a high-tech Emergency Operations Center – definitely interesting, and not insanely stressful to cover, as I’d feared when we suddenly left the newsroom.
So, again, another interesting journalistic experience, this time with camera equipment and the on-camera interview process (another surprise was that an inspector at the police station was from Massapequa and knew my aunt; it’s a small world after all!) – with lots of useful video and pictures gathered for our piece.
And, again, we missed the bus.
While it was, again, a long and hot walk, it actually ended up being a really pleasant portion of the day. The glimpses of campus along the way were quite pretty, far exceeding what I’d expected from a college campus. Additionally, Professor Ahmad had some really interesting stories from the field to tell along the way (although his opinion of steak is waaaay wrong~).
My team arrived back to the Greene corner of campus just in time for dinner. In sweaty desperation and uncertainty on my choice of meal, the obvious decision was to stand in front of the open freezer for a good few chilly minutes, pretending to deliberate my dinner from the selection of ice cream – a ridiculous idea, until it came to me that it was actually perfect. Thus, that chunk of the day was capped off with cotton candy ice cream (sorry, Mom).
Next, it was time for film editing and, lastly, blogging. So, here we are.
Tomorrow will be packed with field trips, crazy cool journalistic experience, and, of course, fun (and selfies).
Right after we finished our second broadcast class, we were told our group was to travel to the police facilities to interview and film for a new article. No time to research – no problem. Since we missed the bus, we had to walk there. This actually helped us because it bought us time to formulate some questions for our article.
As we walked the 20-30 minute route, we discussed the articles we would be writing/filming about. We were to break news regarding Stony Brook University’s new emergency operations center, and then also touch on the station’s new police cars. When we finally arrived at our destination, we were welcomed by police officers who let us into the building to speak to the Chief of Police about the school’s new emergency operations center. I was impressed to see this shiny new room adapted into what looks like a control center in crime movies.
We filmed, scribed, and snapped photos all at once, and practiced the new skills we learned from our broadcast class. Then, we moved outside to take a look at the new police interceptors. We filmed some more, and after two or three hours, we were pooped. Although we had got the job done, we were tired, thirsty, and hungry. Turns out, we missed the bus going back too, so we were forced to walk in the hot summer sun.
On the bright side, Wasim promised to stop at Starbucks and buy us cold drinks. The only problem was, when we arrived at the Starbucks, it was closed. Wasim had crushed our precious dreams. To compensate, we stopped at the SAC and got drinks there. We decided to take a post-adventure sweaty selfie. Enjoy.
We hit the ground running on the first official day, instantly immersing ourselves in photography and film. While learning from Newsday Photo Editor and Pulitzer Prize winner John Williams was a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience, I highly doubt my blurry shots will be winning the prize next.
My previous experience in photography – the renowned selfie and occasional picture of my little sister doing something cute – were definitely lacking when compared to the technique and set-up needed to take the perfect “action shot.”
Another new experience yesterday was the press conference with Stony Brook’s new athletic director, Shawn Heilbron. It was seriously cool – I felt like a real-deal journalist covering a beat with my notepad and voice recorder. Heilbron seemed like an ambitious professional.
The last class of the evening was about filming to “capture the moment” – the final segment of Prof. Ricioppo’s mantra. While it’s hard to pick a highlight in such a packed day, running around with a camera and tripod and taking ten-second clips of happenings on campus was definitely up there. It really was great – taking shots of fountains and wandering students at dusk, climbing and crouching to get the perfect angle, and holding back laughter while someone else in the group was filming was the perfect way to end the day.
While I was exhausted (and starving – in what world is 5 p.m. dinnertime???) on the walk back to the dorms, the fun wasn’t over yet. After a quick call from home (and some disdain from my mother as I ate M&M’s at 9:30), my roommate Mary Kate and I heard a knock at the door – the Greene Team girls were assembling in a dorm for Scattergories and snacks.
Of course, I was beyond sold on that idea (has there ever been an invention more brilliant than triple-stuffed golden Oreos?). We crowded into the room, sitting in a circle around a slew of snacks and game cards (huge thank you to Kayla’s mom) and joined the game. It was a great time, and a really neat game.
My roommate Mary Kate and I played as a team, scrambling to think of unique boys’ names and celebrities in accordance to the letter chosen for the round (in a stroke of brilliance, she used “Nancy Regan” for celebrities whose names started with “N,” and I got a point for “Octavius” in the category of boys’ names that started with “O.”).
Today looks like another full day, especially now that our teams have been selected and our stories will be pursued in the afternoon.
I’d never stayed in a residence hall before, but with five siblings, I am no stranger to sharing a room. Thankfully, this time, my roommate has neither stolen my clothes nor gotten me grounded – although, to be fair, the week is still young.
In addition to a great kick-off barbecue and opening classes (I don’t think a blog about One Direction qualifies me as a pro in the “Art of Blogging,” but nevertheless, the course and subsequent lesson on photography were interesting), my roommate Mary Kate and I hit it off from the start. It was awesome to meet someone equally interested in Game of Thrones, writing (of course), and history – prompting a discussion of historical figures we wished we could meet (her list included Queen Elizabeth I and Alexander the Great, mine Robespierre and Abraham Lincoln) – definitely a conversation I don’t have every day.
Also on the subject of things not done, I was able to complete my profile of Reid Rubio last night (a thousand apologies for it being ridiculously late). A nasty and time-consuming sinus infection, a summer job, and general forgetfulness can never really be a good combination (again, my apologies).
Our press conference for Stony Brook Athletics Director Shawn Heilbron starts soon, which should be a really unique event. The press conferences I’ve seen on TV are always these super serious, tensions-running-high events, and while this certainly won’t be crafted along those lines, I’m excited to have the experience of working a real press conference.
It’s been a great start, and I look forward to the rest of the day and week!
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The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists