HoofBeat takes Medill
by Kathryn Merck
A school newspaper defines the culture of the school it covers. From the accomplishments of students, sports teams, teachers, and community, a school newspaper determines how a school presents itself to the world. Here at the HoofBeat, writers and editors are always looking for new ways to tell the stories of events at Northside and throughout Chicago, constantly searching for new stories to cover and improving as writers along the way.
On Oct. 20, 11 seniors from the HoofBeat attended High School Journalism Day hosted by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Along with Northside students, journalists from Chicagoland high schools such as Lane Tech, Jones, Whitney, St. Viator, and Back of the Yards attended the event. Students at the event listened to a slate of workshops given by Medill faculty, as well as a keynote panel, in order to expose young journalists to different forms of journalism. The 11 seniors who attended the event were Elissa Borges, Adv. 800, Israel Gomez, Adv. 807, Conor Green, Adv. 808, Nick Grott, Adv. 809, Sophie Lee, Adv. 804, Ethan Lim, Adv. 805, Alexis Martinez, Adv. 802, Kathryn Merck, Adv. 800, Ben Morris, 807, Leon Sommer-Simpson, Adv. 801 and Natalie Wilczek, Adv. 807.
Prior to the event, students completed a survey asking which of the presentations they would be most interested in attending. Students had the option of photojournalism, documentary, social media, interviewing, TV news, media design, sports, virtual reality, video techniques, and the Medill Justice Project presentations. Students attended two of the 10 available workshops.
The HoofBeat staff was challenged to expand beyond their writing and editing and transition to different ways to tell stories. In the TV News presentation, students were given the opportunity to read news headlines from a teleprompter and report the news on a recording camera. The session took place in Northwestern’s broadcast studio where Medill students produce their newscasts. “It was hard to clearly and quickly say everything that was in the teleprompter in front of a camera without stopping,” Grott said. “But it was fun to try something new.”
“The Virtual Reality session was my favorite because it introduced me to a new way of experiencing a news story by placing me in the field. They had students select news stories and gave viewers a 360 degree view of real life events using virtual reality goggles,” Gomez said.
The event concluded with an hour-long keynote panel, where working journalists answered a series of questions from the student audience. “The keynote panel was very insightful. I learned a lot about how large news corporations function. I also learned about race and censorship issues in journalism, partially with ESPN through the Jemele Hill story,” said Sommer-Simpson.
Overall, the HoofBeat team had an excellent experience at Journalism Day. Students left filled with a delicious breakfast and lunch, Medill merchandise, and a new awareness of how to communicate information to others. HoofBeat readers should surely see a change in written and visual work in the coming months.