Paul Gillam shares HSJI Experience

Ernie Pyle is one of the most famous journalists associated with IU, and his statue sits outside the new media school. Photo credit: Lizzie Allen

Rising senior from St. Louis, Missouri, Paul Gillam hopes to advance his editorial and writing skills at the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University where he attends the Editor-In-Chief/Leadership classes.

Gillam attends HSJI because he will be the editor-in-chief of his high school paper this coming year. He traveled to Bloomington with four of his fellow editors.

“I’m here specifically so we can grow together and get to know each other better and start forming more of a community together,” Gillam said. “I also want to better my skills at learning how to manage a newspaper and work with people on such a big stressful project.”

Gillam, though not interested in a career in journalism, takes the management of his high school newspaper very seriously.

“It’s kind of a hobby,” Gillam said. “But it’s kind of a very serious hobby because it is going to be very time-consuming next year. Journalism, while I think it is very important and really really fun as well, I’m just not interested in it as a career.”

The editors-in-chief class has, so far, honed its focus in on how to organize and manage a staff of a newspaper. The class focuses on learning how to work with other students effectively and avoiding problems.

“The teacher is really really great, and I think she really understand what leadership is all about,” Gillam said.

The course has also focused on how the students see themselves as leaders, figuring out what their personality types are and how they can most effectively use their strengths to manage the groups of students in their respective projects.

Gillam came into the institute hoping to learn, specifically, how to better his own writing. But so far not much writing has been done in his course.

“I’m interested, next year especially, in writing a lot of editorials and opinions because I have a lot of opinions I think the school needs to hear, so I wish we were doing more writing,” Gillam said.

Gillam’s teacher, one of the two instructors for the Leadership Academy, is Denise Roberts. Gillam said that the thing he likes most about the class “is definitely the teacher. Denise is awesome. She’s very very upbeat, has a good balance of making the class fun, while also making us realize how serious this class is.”

To begin the class, Gillam received an assignment called a “Dear Denise” letter, in which the students were instructed to tell her about themselves and their good and bad expectations for the following year in their journalism experience. Gillam says that he wrote about his position on the staff and his excitement for working on the paper with his co-editors.

“We’ve had to set three goals for ourselves, personal goals that we want to make sure we accomplish, goals for a specific section of the paper and also goals for the overall paper as a whole,” Gillam said.