It is Friday—how exciting. I lost track of time Thursday after working all day in the newsroom with food breaks throughout the day, but my team progressed in our assignments. We agreed on a team name—Wasome Sauce (Wasim is our coordinator).
Everything is coming along together and I can’t believe its been a week. It is a different atmosphere working specifically to finish assignments, rather in school when I have to balance meeting deadlines and editing with homework and reading for other classes.
Working all day yesterday was tiring. But it was a draining type of fatigue. It was not so much physical, but a common feeling that comes with a package of education usually followed by a catharsis of success once you open it. I finished the broadcast piece on the Emergency Operations Center and submitted my story on new police cars on campus for edit.
Professor Ricioppo helped us out with the film editing and learning about scripting tracks, then we laid the tracks down in a little studio booth that was cool and professional. I feel more confident about writing voice-overs and recording and editing now, which was something that I was really looking forward to. Usually at school, I rushed broadcasts to meet deadline and tended to focus on writing more but now I feel comfortable with both.
It has been a fun week and I have learned more than I thought I could learn in a week from walking and planning a report to editing video and audio to playing pool with kids from other camps.
This is my last blog post for the Greene Gazette but I will try to find the time to blog elsewhere. I found it amazing how close the Greene team got and the level of comfort we felt with each other without really knowing one another previously (with a few exceptions). I will try to stay in touch with everyone I have met, and keep learning and applying skills to journalism wherever it is applicable.
I snapped a picture back during the first photography lesson, that sums up the week.
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.
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.
Day 2 (Monday continued): Tired as anything, the day continued as we embarked on our first photography lesson with John Conrad Williams. He taught us all about exposure and within a few short hours we were taking photographs like professionals (and modeling not so much like professionals). Leaping and jumping around in the quad trying to get a good action shot with Kayla was definitely a highlight of the day.
Our endless day was followed by dinner, where mac and cheese seemed like the most appetizing option. I got to know a few more of the Greene Team members over our “delicious” dinners. After dinner we got a video lesson from Rick Ricioppo where we learned the importance of angling and layers (like an onion). “Shrek is love, Shrek is life.” That is my new motto. Our day of work ended with the announcement of our groups. My group-mates are Lea Greene, Colin Maloney, and Laura Fallick. I am excited to find out what our assignments are for the rest of the week. When we arrived back at the dorms all the girls joined in for another game of Scattergories (with snacks). The Greene Team is becoming closer by the hour. I can’t imagine having to leave some of them at the end of the week.
Day 3 (Tuesday): And so our sleep-deprived week continues. I think I finally know everyone’s name. Once again we had a photography lesson with John Conrad Williams. We learned depth of field and how to take a good portrait.
Kayla and I aced it as always. Afterwards we started on our assignments. My team and I attended a cancer graduation scholarship ceremony on campus and reported (at least attempted.) And just like always- whatever could have gone wrong, went wrong. The lighting was too dark in the building, so as the reporting photographer I was rendered pretty much useless. Then when I went to edit the video my team had captured (which I have been looking forward to all day) the video did not transfer to the computer! So my lesson for the day: technology will never work the way you want it to; Murphy’s Law: what can go wrong will go wrong. Well at least it is a learning experience.
Yesterday was full of photography, cartwheels, and Double Stuf Oreos. We started the day by blogging and interviewing the new Athletics Director here at Stony Brook, Shawn Heilbron. I’ve never interviewed a subject among eighteen others, so that was really interesting. Heilbron was very well spoken and enjoyable to listen to. He gave us exactly what we needed to write our article.
After lunch, we got the privilege to learn from a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, John Conrad Williams. After seeing what an incredible photographer he was, I was a bit intimidated. But after Williams showed us some basic skills of photography, I became more confident. We ventured out of the ice-cold newsroom, and out to take photos of the fountain, and then on to portraits. After experimenting with the camera’s ISO, shutter speed and aperture, we moved on to action shots. We jumped, cartwheeled, and leaped across the grass, while our partner tried their best to capture the shot. One of my shots came out really cool, so I inserted it into this blog post.
Following our photography lesson, we ate dinner. I decided to make instant mac & cheese in the cafeteria’s microwave. Solid choice. Once everyone had finished eating, we began our broadcast lesson. Rick Ricioppo was our instructor, and he helped us assemble the camera on the tripod, and get the most out of our videos. Towards the end of the lesson we got the chance to test out our new skills and tape some scenes outside. We filmed everything from footsteps to still nature. I’m excited to see how our (very random) movie comes out.
After a very long day, we situated into the dorms. All the girls gathered in one room to play a fun game called Scattergories. We laughed at every single response while shoveling down Double Stuf Oreos and Doritos. Party games and junk food is always a good time. After a few rounds of playing, my roommate Yaya and I went back to our room. I’m so glad Yaya is my roommate because we are so much alike. We will definitely keep in touch after this program ends. Let’s just say there’s never a dull moment in room C211.
Monday, the first full day of the Robert W. Greene program, was a really excellent experience. In my previous blog post I described the excellent breakfast here, and I finished before we had the interview with Shawn Heilbron.
Heilbron is the new addition to the Stony Brook staff. He is the new Athletic Director and has high hopes improving Stony Brook’s sports reputation as a whole. In the interview we got to listen to Heilbron’s story as to how he got to be where he is today, and then we proceeded by each asking questions, acting like a real reporter. Through the question and answers we discovered that he is interested in building up the football and basketball program, and then marketing them to get more of an audience at the games. He would then use these funds from the games to fund the other sports equally, and even has hopes of starting up a new women’s sports team.
After the interview with Heilbron we headed out to lunch. Lunch was pretty good, there was a various amount of options, but I can personally say that the pizza was really good.
John Conrad Williams then came in and taught us about the ISO, aperture and shutter speeds of the camera. We then took the cameras outside and practiced taking pictures of moving targets and of each other. This was one of the best parts of the day, going outside where it’s not -20˚ like in the newsroom.
After the photo lesson, we took a dinner break, which was basically the same food as lunch, which was fine by me as long as there is pizza. Next, Professor Rick Ricioppo came in and taught us about the topic I’m most interested in—broadcast journalism. We learned the basics, most of which I had already known from my class in school, but I did learn a few things about layering which was really nice.
Even though the day felt never-ending, I did learn some really exciting new things that I can’t wait to take back to my broadcast program in my school and share.
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The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists