Tag Archives: Greene Team 2014

Final thoughts, final feelings and final rants

I can’t believe today is the last day and tonight would be my last night in a dorm that has no AC. I’m just happy I don’t have to wake up at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow. I leave for North Carolina on Sunday, and I’m afraid to get on plane since Malaysia Flight 17. I’d rather drive to North Carolina than fly.

My whole experience was rather good, but my feet are so sore every time we walk somewhere. We all finish our stories all before 11 a.m.. I’m very proud of my team. Now we can finally relax.

I’m looking forward to playing games and taking naps. Hopefully tonight we’re going to the film festival to see a foreign film. I’m just happy we’re not doing anymore work. I’m happy I came here to the Greene Team, but it’s been very overwhelming week just for me.

Hearing these wonderful stories about my grandfather brings back great memories that I don’t discuss a lot. I didn’t know we were going to discuss so much about my grandfather. I shouldn’t have worn so much mascara.

Overall I had a good experience, but it was tiring. I would get back to the dorms around 10-10:30 p.m. and be in bed by 11:30 p.m. Wake up was at 6:15 a.m.-6: 30 a.m. and we’ve started working around 8 a.m. If I had to be up by 7 a.m. and work around 8:30 a.m. and be in the dorms by 8 p.m., then I wouldn’t be so tired.


Anyway Thanks for reading my blogs and hearing me rant.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.39.26 AM

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Mary Kate Guma: multimedia reporter (just kidding)

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.)

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An unforgettable week

I can’t believe the week is coming to an end. The days were certainly longer, and the nights shorter. But the experience was definitely one that will last forever. I am so grateful that I was chosen to be part of this program that cost me nothing, but taught everything; the different aspects of journalism, friendship, living the college life. I couldn’t have asked a better way to spend this last week of July. I wish it could have last longer.

Here at Stony Brook University, the Greene Gazette program is the first summer getaway I have ever experienced throughout my teenage life. I made great friends in the span of one week and we bonded as if we’ve been friends our whole lives. I enjoy having girl nights with them because we talked, laughed and joked about everything. My roommate, Kelly Colligan, was the best roommate I could have ever asked for.

YaYa, Kelly, Hanna, Reid
YaYa, Kelly, Hanna, Reid

Going to Newsday showed me that journalism is not simple and a lot of work has to be done. It also gave me a clearer picture of how diligently people work in the field. In addition, I enjoyed going to my first ball game ever, the Ducks. I took pictures and  jumped in the bouncing house with Hanna, Reid, Madison and Noelia.

Most importantly, I am thankful that the team and I had amazing and supportive professors who organized this program in honor of the late Bob Greene, who left them motivated enough to organize this institute. Wasim Ahmad for teaching us about blogging, Cathrine  Duffy  for her lessons and patience and Zachary Dowdy for his motivation and the other professors who also participated in the program.

Their teachings have changed our perspective on journalism for the better. I took what they had to offer in such a small amount of time and applied it to what I really want to do in life. I know for sure wherever life takes me, I will definitely take some type of photography and writing courses in college. They will both be an aspect in my life. This experience has really been a week to remember.

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Temporarily derailed by dessert

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.

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A victory in the newsroom’s game of musical chairs

A Victory in Musical Chairs
Blessedly, I was able to get a computer next to Courtney this morning, and though we were working with $500 cameras, I chose to snap a pic with my iPhone. Old habits die hard.
Photo by Mary Kate Guma

Much of yesterday was spent using cameras and computers, but the parts that stood out have been the writing workshops, the mini-lessons in writing we received from Professors Dowdy and Duffy. We haven’t learned anything terribly complicated, but it’s mostly new information to me, and I love it. I feel as though I’m being showered in tips, listening intently so I can take the lessons back to my high school’s paper, Spectrum.

My school lacks a journalism class, and honestly, that was the number one reason I applied to this program. I don’t know if I want to be a journalist in real life. In fact, I’m pretty sure I don’t. But I’ve been devoted to Spectrum for years, writing and editing, and the paper needs a pick-me-up, so here I am.

In the last day and a half, I gained more experience than I would during a month in Locust Valley. I attended a press conference with Stony Brook’s new Athletic Director, Shawn Heilbron. I received photography lessons from the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer John Williams. Finally, I learned to use a video camera out in the field — and I do mean field. We took the cameras out to the Staller Steps to shoot video clips in the fading twilight.

Unfortunately, I spent most of yesterday on the overflow computer. There are eighteen computers near each other. I was number nineteen, meaning I sat in the front with the professors and guest instructors. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t great. But today I knew better. I snagged a computer next to my roommate, scoring a definite victory in this game of musical chairs.

This morning, however, I had the best experience yet. Newsday’s investigative reporter Sandra Peddie popped in to chat with the Greene Team, and those fifteen minutes were fantastic. The work we’ve done so far has been kind of serious, lots of “Pay attention” and “If you miss this you’ll be completely lost.” But when Peddie stood up to talk to us, wearing a bright smile and a hot pink blazer, she illuminated the fun side of journalism.

Peddie is clearly doing what she loves. She shared some of her adventure stories and gave us a little insight into her world. What she does is exciting, and she is excited about it. Her words buzzed as she told us her story. Instead of slouching back in my chair, I leaned forward, hanging on every syllable.

She told us her favorite part of the job was that it helped her learn more about the world. She had grown up sheltered in Minnesota. Now she knows things. She talks to people from all walks of life, sees corruption at multiple levels.

I don’t know about the towns my peers come from, but Locust Valley is a sheltered little town. I want to know things too, and that is what I hope to gain from my time in journalism: perspective on the world, broader knowledge of humans and our actions.

I know we’re laying groundwork, that unless we learn the basics, we can never advance, but Peddie’s mini lecture served as a pep talk, a look at what’s to come, and it reawakened the excitement I possess for journalism.

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Day two – So much to do, so little time


Everybody is telling me what to blog or what looks good to blog. I’m just freaked out a little that I see my name basically everywhere. Hearing people talk about my grandfather makes me choke up a little. Good thing about tonight is that a handful of us are going to the film festival. The only movie we can see is a wartime movie because it’s at 9:30 and we get back at 9:00 , So not so bad, time-wise.

All us girls had game night in one dorm with snacks and laughter, like you see in the movies. But I hit the hay at 11:30 p.m. and when I woke up at 6:15 a.m. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I got up and took a shower, I’m proud of myself. Now all I feel is sleepy. I might need a protein bar. I should have taken advantage of naptime in kindergarten. I take more naps now than when I was little.

Yesterday we worked with still cameras and video cameras. John Conrad Williams is our instructor with the camera. He is an award winning photographer. I took an amazing picture of Professor Wasim Ahmad as payback for Sunday. It’s on Instagram and soon to be on the Greene Gazette website! What goes around must come around.

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Here we go …

With our parents barely off campus, the Greene Team launched into our program with a two and a half hour introductory session in which we were introduced to the concept of blogging, taught to properly use our iPhone cameras, and finally concluded with a brainstorming session. But just as we built momentum, we were released for the night, given what I strongly suspect to be the largest amount of free time we will have all week. In fact, I was so fired up after the session that I went back up to the dorm room telling my roommate all about the work I intended to do that night, looking people up, researching professors, getting a jump start on everything.

That, of course, did not happen, but my intentions were good.

Instead, I and the other Greene Team members spent the time getting to know each other over the pizza we ordered for dinner, as many were horrified to discover that the parent barbeque was supposed to be considered our dinner for the day. We wasted no time in ordering a pizza in order to keep ourselves from wasting away. Thankfully, a crisis was avoided and we all got to eat. By 9 p.m., we had all begun to go our separate ways, however, as some floated back to their rooms to finish unpacking, others hit the gym, and still others settled into the lounge for a movie.

We didn’t spend too much time apart, though, as we were roused by a knock on the door this morning at 6:34 a.m., signaling the start of our day. We hurried to dress, readying ourselves for our first full day of the program. Within the hour, we were seated at breakfast, digging through newspapers for stories to interest us, and searching in vain for the “breakfast pizza” of which we had heard tales.

From around the table, the early morning groans of teenagers could be heard as we settled in, though as the hour grew later, the groans gave way to an excited chatter as the food and coffee revived us. But just as we all seemed to reach our full functioning potential, we were whisked off to the newsroom for the first lesson of the day.

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