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High School Programs Give Young Reporters Voice, Experience

By Fabian Ardaya
Sports Editor

Phoenix, Ariz.—As competition for summer programs is on the rise, high school journalism programs are popping up around the valley, giving teens the opportunity to gain experience for college.

Programs such as the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s High School Summer Journalism Institute (SJI) and ctownrivals.com (CTR) are giving opportunities to young reporters throughout Arizona and the country.

Jacob Arce is a student at the SJI program who is heading into his senior year at Agua Fria High School. Arce says that the program gives students a foot up on the competition.

“You’re putting your feet in the water and getting a feel for the actual journalism field, and how the business works,” he said. “You get to gain experience and understand what this field really is like, which gives us an advantage over other high school students.”

Students at the SJI program undergo one of two curriculums: digital or broadcast.

In the digital program, students learn about different forms of media, learning photography, videography, editing, writing, and website building. For broadcast, students learn how to speak on camera, write scripts, shoot and edit, and produce a broadcast.

As part of the program, students spend two weeks at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in downtown Phoenix, where students stay at the dorms at Taylor Place.

Another program is CTR, which is a web-based, student-run news outlet that covers high school sports for the city of Chandler. It started out via Twitter, and has now reached 1,930 followers, and has developed a consistent site viewership throughout the city.

The site has become a credible source for sports news in the community, and has created partnerships with some of the schools’ journalism programs as well as the East Valley Tribune and Arizona Interscholastic Athletics (AIA).

Dominic Controneo recently graduated from Basha High School and is an alumni of both CTR and SJI. He plans to attend the Cronkite school this upcoming fall. Cotroneo knows the importance of gaining experience, and encourages it for young journalists.

“It’s so important to not only have your work published, but accumulated to be critiqued,” he said. “There’s already a small sample size for us young journalists, so we need to jump at any opportunity we get to build our resume.

Cotroneo understands that these programs are a necessary and rewarding learning experience for young journalists.

“The overall experience of CTR is getting ahead of the curve and actually seeing your hard work and research posted onto a popular website,” he said. “Ctownrivals.com has become a legitimate media resource, which pushes our work to a new level of professionalism.”

Reach the reporter at fabi10@cox.net or via Twitter @fardaya15


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