ELi Will Hold the Fourth Annual Summer Youth Journalism Program

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ELi Summer Youth Journalism Program graduate Noa Kuszai reporting from the Crystal Awards ceremony.

ELi’s annual Summer Youth Journalism Program intensive educational program will be held online this July and August.

What’s different about this year: Due to COVID-19, we will be running the course primarily online, with the option for a few in-person meetings depending on the comfortability of participants and CDC guidelines while the course runs. Also, to reduce the amount of daily screen time, each day’s course will run for three weeks, rather than two; additionally, we will hold class live via Zoom or Google Meet for one hour. The course will still only run on weekdays. We will host fewer students than in the past as to best serve each student with individual support.

We will also run both tiers of the summer program—the introductory course and the advanced course. The introductory course is recommended for those with little-to-no journalism experience, and the advanced course is for those who have taken the introductory course in the past, or who have prior secondary journalism experience.

Summer Youth Journalism director and educator Cody Harrell, a Journalism and English teacher at East Lansing High School with a degree in Journalism from MSU. (Photo courtesy of Cody Harrell.)

About the program: The courses, led by journalism educator Cody Harrell, will lead students in the understanding of basic and advanced techniques of journalistic writing and reporting. The program will be free for students accepted, and students will receive a $250 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 a piece to be published at the end of the program. (Reporting is paid per published report.)

Topics in the three-week introductory program include such things as first-amendment law, professional journalistic ethics, news hierarchy, interview techniques, concise writing, Associated Press styling, interpreting legal documents, the Freedom of Information Act in theory and practice, basic photojournalism and more. This year’s course will cover reporting from home, and how to cover global topics on a local level.

The two-week 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 communities of bias, in-depth writing and editing, beat reporting, sensitive issues reporting, environmental reporting and other topics. 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. Students will also come in with article ideas that they will write about throughout the program to be published at its conclusion.

2019 Summer Youth Journalism Program participants, from left: Chris Hosey, Ashleigh Weiszbrod, Anaiis Rios-Kasoga, Noor Pawar, Rylie McClean, Xochitl Kwasnik, Cody Harrell (director), and Sophia Strasburg.

Once the courses have ended, student participants may be phased into the ELi team to assist in local investigative journalism and community news reporting.

This year’s guest speakers will include local officials, professional journalists and photojournalists, prominent public figures and more! They will be announced later in July.

Rolling deadline for applications: Applications for both the two-week and three-week intensive educational program will be processed until the program reaches its maximum capacity of eight students. The hard deadline for the program will be Monday, July 20. This means that interested students should apply ASAP.

Who can apply: We are accepting applications from people aged 15-22 who 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 to attend ELHS or MSU.

About the schedule: The program will run Monday-Friday, July 27–August 7 for the two-week program; the two-week program will run Monday-Friday July 27-August 14, with one hour of group meetings per day via Zoom or Google Meet, with optional in-person meetings (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 Harrell. 

About the journalism educator: Cody Harrell 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 student first amendment rights and working with the best and brightest of tomorrow’s journalism, he enjoys training for marathons and singing in his barbershop quartet.

How to apply: Download the application from this link.

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