The Hoofbeat Takes on Northwestern’s High School Journalism Day
By Kimberly Grabiec
High school newspapers are windows into a school’s activities and events, as well as the school’s character. In order to portray Northside in the best light possible, HoofBeat writers are always searching to improve their writing and to find new and exciting ways to practice journalism.
On Oct. 5, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism opened its doors to high school students on its annual High School Journalism Day. The program takes in up to 10 students per high school across the Chicagoland area, and in total boasted over 150 attendees. Students were able to choose two workshops prior to the convention. The list of choices included TV Journalism, Documentary Making, Social Media Videos, and many more. The Hoofbeat writers who came to the event were Esther Huescas, Adv. 911, Savannah Graziano, Adv. 903, Sarah Kamal, Adv. 909, Gabriel Vara, Adv. 900, Kimberly Grabiec, Adv. 902, Maya Gorman, Adv. 901, and Noah Liedtke, Adv. 900. The seniors were joined by Northside’s journalism teacher Dianne Malueg, English department, and Northside’s Post-Secondary Coach, Monique Moore.
The convention began with a keynote speaker, Kevin Coval. Kevin Coval is the founder of Louder Than a Bomb, an extremely popular youth poetry competition that has a team here at Northside. His accomplishments also include writing “A People’s History of Chicago” and advising at Young Chicago Authors. Coval’s presentation portrayed how he broke through expectations as a white, Jewish, urban kid in order to explore Chicago’s vibrant hip-hop scene. His speech included poetry and rap verses that inspired his career. The writer’s statements were meant to inspire others to question their norms and find truth in journalism.
Kara Jackson, a member of Young Chicago Authors and Chicago’s Youth Poet Laureate, came on stage next to perform a few pieces of her poetry. One of her poems, entitled “Love Poem With a Knife,” was featured in Frontier Poetry. Afterwards, Jackson and Coval sat down to answer questions from the audience that dealt with the ins and outs of being a journalist/poet, as well as questions regarding race and gender within the journalism scene.
Students were then sent to their first workshop. One of these workshops focused on documentary-making, and was led by Medill professor Craig Duff, and taught about the history of documentaries and techniques for making them engaging and unbiased. The TV Journalism workshop had students act as newscasters, and were challenged to read a teleprompter in front of a camera. Huescas said, “It was a unique but nerve-wracking experience.”
Participants were invited to lunch, which consisted of an array of sandwiches as well as salad, cookies, and chips. Students engaged in lively conversation over lunch, discussing recent journalistic events such as the Brett Kavanaugh testimony and the upcoming conclusion to the Van Dyke trial.
Finally, students were sent to their final workshop. One of these workshops was entitled Social Media Videos, and highlighted details that add to the effectiveness of short, clickable social media videos. AJ+, a popular Facebook news video site, utilizes yellow captions to stand out and be more accessible to viewers. The presentation left listeners more observant about the videos that they scroll through every day.
By the end of the day, HoofBeat writers learned a lot about non-conventional forms of journalism that are not taught in high schools. They were also provided with insight on college-level journalism, as well as a number of ways that journalism skills can be applied to many different careers. Northside’s school newspaper will without a doubt have many coming improvements as writers begin to implement what they learned at the High School Journalism Day.