I spent one week last summer at the School Press Institute (SPI) of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. This program was centered around journalism/yearbook activities with four different sessions. Students chose from Yearbook, Photography, Newspaper/ Magazine, or Electronic Publishing classes.
I was very involved on my school newspaper as a section editor, but before I went to SPI, I really didn't know the specifics of running a high school newspaper. Since I was to become Editor-in-Chief, I was actually quite nervous that I would have no idea what I was doing.
I was horrified to find that my entire Electronic Publishing class was all male. However, I think it turned out to be better in the long run. Not to put down my gender, but a lot of girls go to a program like this and just worry about their appearance instead of having fun and learning something.
The first thing the five of us did was to get to know each other. We had a variety of experience. Our school papers ranged from being printed on a rizzo machine and laid out on a Macintosh SE to being professionally printed and laid out on Macintosh Quadra AV's.
Throughout the week we were told we were going to produce a newspaper with our newly-learned skills in QuarkXpress. Despite bickering over our personal preferences for this font or that font, and the differences between pull-quotes, it went surprisingly well. I think I learned a tremendous amount about newspaper layout and production working with students and finding out how they work on their newspapers, besides what the teacher taught us.
I can truly say I am glad I spent a week here at Syracuse University. I will always remember it because it gave me a little taste of college life and living in dorms. The responsibility you are given and opportunity to learn is once in a lifetime. L
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.