A job well done, Greene Team

Every year we do this – and it’s hard to believe we’re in our fourth year – our hope for the future of journalism is renewed. This year’s 21 Greene Team members have been a smart, mature and inquisitive bunch. From the first night when we overheard one of them say, “I can’t wait to get to work in the newsroom,” to the willingness to be edited that they displayed during our production process, they never ceased to amaze us.

We’d like to commend each of them for bringing so much energy into the newsroom each day, and for sustaining it during our long sessions on photography, video and news writing and reporting. The development we saw in them this week is a testament to their efforts. This website showcases to the world the talents that the Greene Institute faculty witnessed all week.

We wish each of them the best as they continue to refine their skills and explore career options. They came in as students but they’re leaving as journalists. It’s an honor to be a part of that.

Zachary Dowdy, Wasim Ahmad, Cathrine Duffy, Frank Posillico and Nicole Siciliano

Zachary Dowdy, Wasim Ahmad, Cathrine Duffy, Frank Posillico and Nicole Siciliano at the end of the 2012 Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, about 1 a.m. Saturday.

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‘Westwind’ evokes raw emotion

I have always been a hopeless romantic.  What girl can resist a classic love story?  The movie “Westwind” is a new take on the power of love.  It tells a story about two sisters from East Germany committed to the sport of rowing.  The only thing they are more committed to is each other.  This all becomes questionable when the girls meet boys from West Germany.

The acting was extrodinary.  I think I am literally in love with the main male actor. I hope Zac Efron won’t be jealous.  The emotions of the film felt very real. The main reason I enjoyed the movie is because it felt raw. It felt more like I was a observer in the woods than a viewer in the audience. The chemistry of the sisters especially felt intense. The song at the end of the movie stuck with me. The image of the sister hitchhiking left a haunting image. At the end I felt very depressed but also jealous that the sister ended up with the cute guy.

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Stop changing the titles of my blog posts, Professor Ahmad

Editing is the best, except when it isn’t.

Today, we spent a lot of time going over all the things we had done so far — written articles, videos, photos — in preparation for putting them up on the website. It’s interesting to see how much we’ve been able to learn about all of those things with only a few days of practice and instruction, but it’s even more interesting to watch some of our best efforts get ruthlessly pared down by the professors and the Newsday and Patch editors who have been helping us finalize our work.

I’ve been an editor at my school paper for a year, and I will gleefully cross out entire paragraphs or obliterate ranks of overly written boringly stated needlessly redundant words with wild abandon. I feel a little bad about it, but that doesn’t mean I have to publish a piece when there’s a semicolon in the wrong place.

But I (foolishly) feel different about my own work. It can be hard to accept criticism — even of the constructive sort — when it’s as something as personal as writing being criticized, and sometimes I feel like arguing with other people’s corrections even when they are totally justified in making them. It’s nice to be reminded, as I was today, that my work is as prone to errors as anyone’s, and that it’s so much better to have a well-edited piece than one that’s compleatlly flu of misteaks.

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The last supper

I am not a fan of goodbyes, but the week is almost over. Going around the table during dinner at the SAC got emotional, however it was necessary. Like usual, Darrell and I had some great laughs. I enjoyed listening to everyones’ goodbyes, even though it was sad. This is not the end for the 2012 Greene Team.

Reunion party in five years at my house.

P.S. I’m sleeping in the room alone tonight because Matt’s gone.

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Future Holds All

I can’t even explain how much I have taken away this week.  Even though I am leaving my dorm room, the computer lab, and the campus behind , I will take my experience and lessons with me.  The 20 new kids I met this week have all impacted me with their intellect, humor, and pure kindness.  We are all so different yet somehow we blend together.  I have been blown away this week by everyone’s talent, hopefully some of their talent has rubbed off on me.  This week has also opened doors to worlds I had locked a long time ago.  I have always been resilient to new technology.  I have always stuck to Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia.  For my group I was assigned to film, cut, and edit the video.  As I made mistake after mistake I eventually learned the ropes. Even though this is a cliche, seeing the final project made all the work worth it.  When I was five, I had a dream of becoming a movie director but soon after that I transferred my interests to cooking.  Maybe 5-year-old me was on to something.  Perhaps my new interest could be more than a hobby.  When it comes down to it the future is all uncertain but what I do know is I am ready for the challenge.

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Goodbye, for now, Stony Brook

I can’t believe tonight is the last night I’ll be sleeping in the dorms with all my new great friends.  I will genuinely miss all the laughs I had with the Greene Team, because I have had some really memorable talks.

One of the best parts of staying at Stony Brook University this week was reviving my love of photography.  Professor John Williams inspired me to go back to taking photography classes in school.

I have learned so many great tips to apply to my newspaper at school. I know that I will be able to teach my staff all the tips on writing that I learned from my amazing professors.

This experience has definitely been eye-opening because now my love for journalism is even stronger than before. I have made life-long friends with people who share the same interests as mine.

I have never learned so much in this one short week than I have in my entire life. It is an experience I will carry with me forever and has given me a rock solid foundation. All my new hilarious friends and all the new knowledge I have learned have made this the most inspiring week of my life.

Hopefully I will come back to Stony Brook next year for as a real college student!

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A Blooming Discovery

After just touching base on how to use a still camera the day before, I’ve already discovered a new passion that was heightened after few hours of freedom at the Long Island Ducks game. I was a little shy with the professional camera at first and was unsure what would classify as a good photograph, but then I started getting up close shots of the players and really got into it.

I soon found myself all over the stands, crouching on the ground trying to get action shots. I lost track of time and was completely surprised when a team member, Liza, approached me and said we only had a half hour left. It’s crazy how fast time flies when your doing something you really love. This journalism program has made all the difference in my life and has pushed me in a direction I never thought possible. It’s also helped me realize that as much as I love watching CBS 2 News at 5, broadcasting is not the path for me.

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The glass is half full

As I sit here I am quite sad. Do you know why I am so upset?  Well, a few hours ago I seemed to misplace my phone, but little did I know that it is actually lost and cannot be found at this point. You’d be shocked to know that in only one year, that phone was already my fifth replacement of the Android Galaxy S.

Now unsurprisingly, it has vanished off the face of the earth. Thus, I will inevitably have to get a sixth replacement of the very same phone. The employees at the Sprint store must love me by now.

I’ve been particularly losing things today. First, this stressful day began with the finishing up of my group’s multiple projects. As luck has it, the Final Cut Pro gave us trouble. This app was definitely frustrating to work with, considering the various technical things that were involved in making a simple three-minute news report.

Saving work on a computer can be pretty difficult when the swirling rainbow colored circle refuses to go away.  Upon the computer freezing on several occasions, much work was lost. This was certainly not helpful with a deadline nearing its way. Fortunately, we managed and were quite successful. After all, it is hard work that makes accomplishments all worthwhile.

Despite all this, there are significant things that will never be lost; the knowledge I’ve gained from this incredible experience and the beautiful bonds I’ve formed along the way!

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Coming together for something greater

On Sunday, we met each other and on Saturday we knew each other. Just think how we were all in that circle meeting Marcy on the June night of our program orientation. Of course, we dreaded having all the work thrust upon us, but now having completed the journalism boot camp, I can say, I survived. We all did. We supported each other, we shared our thoughts and we came together.

I feel so fortunate that I took my English teacher, Mr. Fertmann’s, advice. He told everyone to apply because it would be a great experience. Out of the 40 or so AP students, I took the initiative. We worked mornings to get the application essay perfect and I could not be happier.

I do not remember the exact quote from my essay, but it said something along the lines of a bygone era of journalism and the anticipation of the journalistic future. I am no longer my bygone self and will continue to reflect on how I have changed.

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I used to love that quote…

But I never thought about it…Really thought about. Hamlet, Act V, Scene V. Maybe it means my life is a shadow and nothing that happens really matters because eventually I’ll be gone. Or maybe I’m the poor player just squeezing every last second of happiness out of my hour.

My tale is told by the intricate. The intricate mind of those who defy the stereotypes…The conventional American Dream, the slave mentality.

But I don’t know what it signifies. Maybe it does signify nothing and I don’t want to know because the beauty of this life is that we don’t know. I don’t know what is going to happen when I log off this computer. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get back to the dorm or when I leave Stony Brook tomorrow…

But it’s okay, because you know what my motto is? Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

People have this fascination with YOLO these days. “You Only Live Once” made famous by Aubrey Graham. But that’s the farthest from the truth and the truth is You Only Die Once. And you only die one death so don’t die a million deaths in your mind worrying about it. My plan is to laugh at all the funny stuff that happens on the way to the grave.

The reason why I have no problem talking about this is because I am certain. The only thing I’m certain about is that absolutely nothing is for certain.

See you tomorrow.

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The hardest week of my life. The greatest week of my life.

Well, this is it. My very last blog post. I don’t think words can properly describe this week, not the work I’ve done nor the people I’ve met. There’s something magical about the Robert Greene Institute of High School Journalism. We all come here, slightly timid, quite excited, and of course nervous. We come expecting hard work and get unbelievably difficult piles of stress. We expect inspiring professors and receive masters of the trade. We come expecting friendly people and fellow journalists, and end up with amazing new friends and maybe even future co-workers. This week has exceeded my expectations to a degree that can not be explained.

But I’ll try. This week I learned to do more than just write, something I used to do exclusively. I liked taking photos, but I never saw it as something with journalistic value. Now I do. Video struck me as the lackey’s job, the invisible faces behind the camera that truly didn’t matter. After editing video myself, I see exactly the time and effort that goes behind it, and the talent it requires to do well. I saw reporters as pretty faces with nice voices, and I now see that their job is nerve-wracking, intensive, and high responsibility. I’ve come to respect all aspects of the world of journalism. I have to thank the professors who have taught so well for this revelation. You are responsible for throwing me into the real world of journalism, and without you I could have carried on with my misconceptions forever.

I know blogs aren’t supposed to be long, but I have to mention my fellow “students” here. The people I’ve worked with are the most intelligent, personable, and entertaining I’ve ever met. I feel like we have become our own little journalism family in just one week, and now we all have to part ways. I know we’ll all keep up, but I just wish we had another week.

This week has truly changed me. My old ideas are completely removed, my skills have been increased, my mind is more open than ever. I realize now that journalism is more than CNN anchors and New York Times articles. Every journalistic source, be it a photo gallery on Newsday or a video on a local Patch , requires a skill set of enormous proportion. This week feels like only the beginning of my training in a career I would love to pursue. I came in as a writer, and I’m leaving a journalist.

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Reporting for the Greene Team, this is Natalia Barr

I have been dreading writing this blog. If I write a blog about leaving this amazing program, that would mean that it’s over. I really do not want this week to be over.

This week has been both one of the longest and shortest weeks of my life. Every day was so long that just the hours between breakfast and lunch seemed like days. At the same time, telling myself that tomorrow is my last day seems surreal. The week went by too fast for me, and I can honestly say I would go through it over and over again.

Today at dinner, each one of us said what we gained from being part of this program. That’s when it clicked for me. As each person spoke about leaving, my heart sunk a little more. Although I was stressed and tired all week, I would do so much to avoid leaving tomorrow. I expected to meet people this week, but I definitely did not expect to become friends with every single person in the program.

To avoid getting too upset, I am trying to think of the end of this week as something beginning in my life. I have made friends that I plan to keep, and I have gained skills that will last my entire life. I have even decided that I am finally going to start a blog, which I have been wanting to do for months now. Journalism has become more than an idea or a dream that I’ve had. After having real, hands-on journalistic experiences, I know that I can be a journalist and this is what I want to do in my life.

It always seemed like I was the only student who really loved to write, who loved understanding the world and who wanted to be a journalist. I have finally met students who proved me wrong, showing me more talent and ambition than I have ever seen from someone my age. I learned that I was never alone as a young aspiring journalist. My peers in this program were always there with the same exact dream.

I know that every member of the Greene Team is going to succeed in their life, whether they plan to continue journalism or not. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this week will never be forgotten. Even when we’re working at our local papers, blogs, news channels and radio stations, each one of us will be able to look back  on this program. After all, this program is what will have gotten us to those places in the first place.

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It’s over?

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks…except that really it was only the best of weeks. I’ve learned so much in the past six days – from my professors, my peers, the people that I’ve gotten to interview and write about, the people who refused to be interviewed. It’s been exciting and stressful and a little bit surreal.

It’s been exactly like this, is what I’m saying.

But most of all, it was fun, and I’m going to miss everything and everyone.

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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

As I type this, Darrell and Paul sitting behind me, laughing so hard they’re practically crying. Rachel is preparing to freak out for a stress-relieving dance break. Sarah is screaming across the room in her typical style.

As the days leading up to this program neared my anxiety grew. Being the type of person who likes to be well prepared, it was a terrifying concept that I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Although I have never worked so hard in my life, the experience here has been worth it in more ways than one. I never knew it was possible to become so close to my new friends here in only a week’s time.

There is only one thing to say to all the professors and all my new friends here: Thank you!

Duck face in the lounge?

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Chess + Ping-Pong = Disaster

Last night I played a game of chess with Matt Kolbert using pieces and a board I brought myself. We were playing in the same room where people were playing ping-pong, and many times the ball landed on the board and knocked over pieces, causing us to have to figure out which ones went where. We would have moved except the board was very sensitive and we couldn’t move it without all the pieces falling over.

I don’t have much experience with chess, but I seemed to have an advantage in that according to Matt, my moves are hard to predict since I was willing to sacrafice a bishop to take out one of his bishops. I was able to take out one of his knights, and later he took out one of mine. We remained about even throughout the game.

When Matt had an opening, he took out his queen; I had to be very careful to avoid it. I always checked if my pieces could be hit by one of his in the next turn, but there was a piece of mine I shortly forgot would need special protection. Before I even realized I was in any danger he moved his queen and declared “Checkmate.” Just as I was about to accept defeat, a ping-pong ball appeared and knocked his queen off the board, eliminating the danger. Technically he still won, but I like to see it as our game was interrupted and a winner could not be determined. If I ever enter a chess tournament, I’ll be sure to bring plenty of ping-pong balls with me.

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Last night for kindred spirits

So this going to be my last night here. This was an amazing experience that I will always remember. I had so much fun, even when I was fumbling around on Final Cut Pro. I’m going to miss everyone here; I really don’t want to go home yet. This program really should have been longer (sorry, Mom, I know you miss me). I was stunned by how quickly I felt comfortable here, something that almost never happens. Same with my roommate, Maggie. Who knew I would find someone else whom I could converse with about all my unusual interests? Needless to say, this was a much welcomed surprise.

I loved everything about this program, whether it was learning photography, learning video editing (which I’m still terrible at), or improving my writing. I know that being here has made me a better journalist.

Mostly I want to say thank you to all the professors, editors, writers, photographers and students who took time out of their busy schedules to help us crazy kids learn more about journalism. Really, thank you. Without you, we wouldn’t have been here and we wouldn’t have learned.

Now I can’t wait for the reunion!

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Real Journalism in 1 week

Eye-opening, fun yet hard are the words I would use to describe my week here at SBU.

I never knew that in just a week I could be exposed to so much and many platforms of journalism. Journalism is far off from just writing! I have come to learn so much of myself that I never even knew was in me. But this week has made me better in many aspects such as social life, professional life and just made me a much more well rounded person with much more skills.

I thought that writing was all I would be interested in but NEWSFLASH I actually prefer online! It is what is in the now and what people use the most.

In the years to come who knows what form of media that will be taking over the journalism world.

Twitter was never my thing and it’s still not my favorite but now I know that its crucial to show off my writing and journalistic approach to things going on in the world and expose it to the online world. I actually wrote blogs! I know they’re not the best but I’m not used to blogging at all but when I finally get back home I will try to tweet and make my own blog or even website.

When school begins again I will try to get more kids to join my school’s newspaper and make it beyond the three to five kids who actually care. Writing is not the only part of a school newspaper because as journalists we have to find a way of engaging the reader in many ways, such as pictures.

Photography is now something I want to practice more and hopefully (fingers crossed) I get a real camera for my birthday.

Shout out to the Greene Team for making this week fun and just something new and different. Glad I got to meet all the unique people and professors. Even though I was shy this week I really enjoyed how we all got along.

Go Gang Green!

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The End

I never thought this day would come. It’s time to leave? Already??

I forgot what it was like to not sit in the air-conditioned newsroom, staring at a computer all day. I can’t recall what home-cooked meals taste like. It’s hard to remember a time when I slept in a room by myself and had my own private bathroom.

However, I know that when I am at the beach, eating my mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, sleeping in my own room, or not waiting on line to take a shower, I will desperately crave the moments I spent here at Stony Brook with the Greene Team this summer.

Although some times were better than others, this week has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I will cherish the time I spent with these twenty amazing people forever. We are all so different yet so alike; we fit perfectly together. It’s hard to believe I have only known them for a week; I feel closer with them than I do with some of my friends that I have known for ten years.

I could go on forever about how significantly this week impacted me, both as a person and as a journalist. However, I think that I will end my final blog post with a simple phrase.

Thank you.

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Thank you Alli’s parents!

Thanks All’s parents… we have enough for a party lol

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to have a great roommate PLUS great roommate parents who love their child and bring enough to feed 2!

I had the best roommate at Stony Brook!

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Defying gravity

the Stony Brook mens Basketball warms up their muscles for their workout. Photo by Liza Bell

the Stony Brook mens Basketball warms up their muscles for their workout. Photo by Liza Bell

The Stony Brook mens basketball team trains hard in their daily workouts in the newly donated Dubin Family Athletic Center. When my team walked into they gym for our story, the athletes were defying gravity by jumpng onto impossibly high mats. They took a running leap and most men had the right hight, but if their balance or footing was only slightly off they went back to the line to perfect it.

The new equipment is specially designed for the athletes specific needs. With the new equipment, Stony Brook’s athletes can now be pushed more than ever before because of the capabilities the new gym holds.

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More than meets the eye

For the past year, all I’ve heard about is college, college, college, and the thought of it has always scared me. I really do like learning a lot. But the focus never seemed to be on learning, it was always talk about growing up and getting involved and starting Real Life, and that’s what scared me.

But being here has made that inevitable future a little less terrifying. See, I really like my town. It’s a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I think that where I live has the best of both worlds: the comforts of suburbia, but with a lot more diversity. It has personality — the houses don’t all look the same, and neither do the people. It’s not perfect, but it’s home, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

But this week taught me that other places can feel like home, too. Other people can become friends. And I can open up and be a part of something.

As Wasim Ahmad pointed out this week, my shyness is like a switch. Most people aren’t as astute — there are tons of people I’ve known forever who see my shyness and think that’s all there is to me; who are shocked when I express anything that indicates something more than just a timid, quiet personality. But for some people, that switch turns off. I always thought that I would never be able to open up to new people, and that’s really what terrified me about college. That’s not scary anymore, though, and that’s pretty great.

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