It was a warm, summer Monday morning. My dad was driving to the University of St. Thomas (St.Paul, MN) campus for my first day at journalism camp. My dad was looking for ways to get me out of the house to do something productive, and he found out about the ThreeSixty Introduction to Journalism Camp, […]
It was a warm, summer Monday morning. My dad was driving to the University of St. Thomas (St.Paul, MN) campus for my first day at journalism camp. My dad was looking for ways to get me out of the house to do something productive, and he found out about the ThreeSixty Introduction to Journalism Camp, a four week camp promoting diversity by teaching teenagers journalism. At first, I was incredibly reluctant to go. I wasn’t a big fan of writing, and I would rather do anything else than spend an entire day in a classroom learning how to write, especially after a long freshman year. However, I really didn’t have much of a choice, so I dragged myself to the classroom. When I first entered, I was pleasantly greeted by the three adults who I would be working with, including my editor for my first year with the program.
We spent the first half of the day introducing ourselves to our peers, talking about journalism and its role in the world, and talking about how journalism practiced. The first skill we were taught was the art of the interview. The only way to really learn interviewing was to actually do it, so we were asked to go out onto the college campus and ask anybody a list of questions. This, without a doubt, was one of my more nerve-wracking experiences. After wandering around a little, I finally managed to get myself to ask a normal looking guy for an interview. Honestly, that first interview did not go so well, but my interviewee was nice and made it a lot easier. And that was the beginning of a lot of amazing experiences.
During that four-week camp, I wrote two stories, a reported story and a personal essay. My first reported story, was about a church pastor, who worked to try to pull young people off the crime-ridden streets of North Minneapolis by using devotional Hip-Hop music. In addition to this, I started an essay about an experience of hatred that I had endured, post 9/11, as a young, eight-year old child and its effect on me and my understanding of people. After working through several drafts, and spending five or six hours editing that piece with my editor, Annie, my essay was submitted to the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, where it won a third place award, while competing with other papers. The hard work had been rewarded and my days with ThreeSixty would keep improving.
I’ve written many articles for ThreeSixty on a wide range of topics from the seriousness of religion and politics to lighter topics like sports. My new editor, Tom, helped me hone my skills furthermore and he developed me into a better writer. The year after the intro camp, I participated in the faster paced advanced journalism camp. And, then I took a 20-hours per week paid internship with the program, in which I was able to interview women’s basketball star Seimone Augustus. The highlight came in January 2014, when I won a first place award at the Better Newspaper award, thanks to the wonderful help I received from my journalism mentors, the staff at ThreeSixty.
In my time with ThreeSixty Journalism, not only have I enjoyed myself, but I have learned a lot about the world. I reported about experiences I never would have imagined of, and I interviewed people I thought I would never talk to. I learned many skills such as being able to write fluidly and being able to talk to people without being too intimidated. In the end, my experiences with ThreeSixty has been a valuable life lesson about how we as individuals are so small compared to the immensity of the world.