By Crystal Garner, DJTF Intern
While most college and university journalism programs are drilling the tools and concepts of digital storytelling into the heads of college-aged students, Savannah State University has decided to go for an even younger demographic.
High School Students.
Approximately 20 students will immerse themselves in the campus life of Savannah State University while learning journalism at SSU Media High, a digital magazine and high school journalism camp. The camp, which begins on June 15, will allow students aged 13-17 to spend two weeks producing news and features for a general interest, digital magazine, said Wanda Lloyd, chair of the school’s journalism department and former executive editor of The Montgomery Advertiser.
Lloyd, who became chair of Savannah State University’s School of Journalism last summer, said she got the idea about Media High after noticing high school students on campus for several different summer programs and camps, none of which involved journalism.
With a history of working with Howard University’s high school journalism camp, Lloyd understands that camps like this can provide journalism skills to students while helping colleges attract the best and brightest.
“The work produced in the program will give (students) an upper-leg,” Lloyd said. “My goal is to increase the capacity of journalism in the Savannah area and increase awareness of our mass communication program so students will consider Savannah State University when (choosing) a college.”
Benet Wilson, NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force Vice Chair of Education, says journalism education should start early. She applauds Savannah State University for training the next generation of journalists.
“Programs like Media High give budding reporters a great foundation for their future careers,” Wilson said. “They also give students a taste of what the industry is like, allowing them to make an informed decision as they consider what college to attend.”
Media High will launch this summer under the direction of camp program director Tina A. Brown.
Brown, a professional journalist with 30 years experience, said she hopes to attract curious learners interested in acquiring newsroom skills quickly.
Candidates will be required to write an essay about themselves and why they would benefit from the program, Brown said. Those selected will produce news on multiple platforms, including video and audio, she added.
“Everything will be done online,” Brown said. “Students will cover events on campus and in the community.” Staff and students at the university will serve as mentors in the program, she said, and field trips to local media outlets and to city council meetings are included in the schedule.
The total cost to operate Media High is about $25,000, with the lion’s share of the money coming from public funding: a $14, 000 federal grant; $4,000 from the Dow Jones News Fund; and $2,000 from student participants themselves. Organizers say students will need assistance covering their share of the costs.
While existing funds will pay for the operation of the program, Media High needs money to cover students’ expenses, including meals and housing. Stipulations for current funding precludes program managers from using any of the $16,000 to purchase meals, which Brown estimates will cost $22 a day per student, she said.
Contributions are tax deductible and checks can be made to:SSU Foundation, Inc.,
In care of: Wanda Lloyd, chair of Mass Communications, SSU Media High,
3219 College Street, Savannah, Ga. 31404.