ELi Invites Applicants to Fifth Annual Summer Youth Journalism Program

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Participants from ELi's 2018 Summer Youth Journalism Program

East Lansing Info (ELi) will be holding its fifth annual Summer Youth Journalism Program in August 2021, and area youth are now invited to apply for this intensive educational experience, which pays a $300 educational stipend.

ELi is a nonprofit news organization that serves the people who live, work, play, and go to school in our area by providing factual, local news.

The introductory version of ELi’s Summer Youth Journalism course, Tier 1, is recommended for those with little-to-no journalism experience, and the advanced course, Tier 2, is for those who have taken the introductory course in the past or who have prior formal journalism education. More information is included below.

What’s different about this year’s programs? This year, we will return to in-person instruction, with a structure similar to our pre-pandemic programming. Tier 1, the “intro” class, will run for two weeks, and Tier 2, the “advanced” class, will run for one week and one day.

Because we are uncertain of the plans of the public library, where we held our courses pre-pandemic, the classes this year will meet outdoors (weather permitting) under a tent canopy at the home of ELi’s Publisher, Alice Dreger, near Hannah Community Center. (A bathroom is available just inside the house.) Inclement weather plans will be developed and adjusted based on input from participants. Some virtual meet-ups are also expected as part of the courses.

This year’s courses will cover reporting from home and how to cover global topics on a local level. As always with our Summer Youth Journalism Programs, after the courses end, students may be phased into the ELi team to assist in local investigative journalism and community news reporting.

About both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 programs: The courses, led by journalism educator Cody Harrell, will lead students in understanding journalistic writing and reporting. The program will be free for students accepted, and students will receive a $300 stipend for participation in the program. In addition, students will be paid as reporters during the program to produce published reports for ELi’s readers. Students are expected to produce publishable work by the end of the program.

Community members and journalists will be invited as guests to speak on topics that the class will explore as they relate to the field and status of journalism. This year’s guest speakers are expected to include local officials, professional journalists and photojournalists, prominent public figures, and others.

Students will be expected to file their story before receiving their educational stipends. (Reporting is paid in addition to the stipend, per published report.)

What topics are expected to be included in Tier I? The two-week intro class is expected to cover First-Amendment law, professional journalistic ethics, the news hierarchy, interview techniques, concise writing, Associated Press styling, interpreting local documents, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in theory and practice, basic photojournalism, and more.

What’s expected in Tier 2? The one-week plus one-day advanced course will focus on journalism in the community and will be a blend of guest lecturers and lessons that may include but are not limited to: in-depth interviewing, investigative journalism, exploration of bias, in-depth writing and editing, beat reporting, sensitive issues reporting, environmental reporting, and other topics.

Rolling deadline for applications: Applications for the intensive educational program will be processed until the program reaches its maximum capacity of six-to-eight students (depending on funding). The hard deadline for the program will be Monday, July 26, so long as capacity has not been reached. This means that interested students should apply as soon as possible. (We will announce on this page if the program is full.)

Who can apply: We are accepting applications from people who will be ages 15-22 and are interested in journalism, whether or not they plan to pursue a career in the field. Applicants do not need to live in East Lansing or attend East Lansing High School or Michigan State University. All people who will be ages 15-22 are welcome to apply.

About the schedules: The program will run Monday-Friday, August 2-13 for the two-week Tier 1 program. The Tier 2 program will run Monday-Friday August 2-6 and Monday, August 12. (We are asking applicants to indicate time availability on their applications, but we anticipate that the meetings will run midday.) Students will also work in small groups and one-on-one with Program Director Cody Harrell. 

Summer Youth Journalism Program Director Cody Harrell

About the journalism educator: Cody Harrell (pictured above) is a Journalism and English teacher at East Lansing High School with a degree in Journalism from MSU. ELHS students who have worked with him praise him as a student-centered, engaging, effective educator. While at MSU, he specialized in graphic design, publication design, and web design. He is a board member for the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association. He also earned accolades from the Journalism Education Association, the Society for News Design, and the School of Journalism at MSU.

Harrell has been a student, adviser, mentor, and teacher at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer journalism camp held on MSU’s campus. When not advocating for students’ First Amendment rights and working with the best and brightest in tomorrow’s journalism, he enjoys training for marathons and singing in his barbershop quartet.

How to apply for Tier 1: Find the application for Tier 1 here.

How to apply for Tier 2: Find the application for Tier 2 here.

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