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View From Regis – Reporting on the ReportersJuly 15, 2009
Aspiring young journalists from around Massachusetts met recently at Regis College to press Associated Press reporter Russell Contreras on allegations he stole from the state budget.
If it seems like an unlikely group to do such cutting-edge reporting, it is. The scenario was fictitious; the “journalists” are instead local high school students and Contreras their instructor. The mock press conference was part of an annual seven-day in-depth journalism program held on the Regis College campus by the New England High School Journalism Collaborative. The program is supported by a generous donation from Carole Remick, a Regis College graduate and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
The 12-year-old program aims to immerse students in not only the work of, but the pace of journalism. To this end, students learn interviewing tips, multimedia techniques, and use of the AP Stylebook; they also have their work edited by practicing journalists.
This year’s theme “International Items” will highlight an interview with Regis alumna, Margaret Kelley, Director of the General Assembly at the U.N. Another program alumnus, Adeel Hassan, at The New York Times Foreign Desk, was also interviewed when three students visited New York.
“International issues will continue to be prominent as society becomes more globalized,” said Dr. Mary Jane England, President of Regis College. “Understanding how to report and write fairly and accurately will make the students better media consumers, as well as prepare them for potential careers.”
The 2009 workshop, held from June 23-30, was attended by about a dozen high school students from Boston, Everett, Chelsea, Lynn, Fitchburg, Malden, and Worcester. Regis offers the ideal setting for summer study. Its facilities, including a swimming pool, gymnasium, and fitness center, were open to students enrolled in the workshop.
The week culminated with a banquet, keynoted by Sherlon Christie, a New Jersey-based sports reporter. Born in Jamaica, Christie attended Brockton High and Northeastern University. He was in the 1996 program.
Many program alumni are in charge of the program. Milton Valencia, a Boston Globe reporter, directed the students to produce an eight-page newspaper during the week and Christine Vo, Deputy Art Director of Marketing and Web at America’s Test Kitchen, will assist students with an eight-page newsletter. Layout and design is done at The Christian Science Monitor. USA Today pays for the printing at their Norwood facility, Boston Offset.
Founded in 1987 the New England High School Journalism Collaborative (NEHSJC) is a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities to high school students wishing to improve their writing skills and learn journalism techniques from professional writers. In collaboration with the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Regis College, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Partners in Print, and professional journalists, the NEHSJC is able to offer an annual summer workshop, free of charge, to qualified high school students. The week long workshop provides an opportunity for these students to improve their writing and learn journalism techniques.
By Heather Ciras (WTC July 9, 2009)