Young journalists improve knowledge at HSJI

by Lara Varella, The British School Al Khubairat

Zoë Harris from Ben Davis High School sits in Franklin Hall with 80 other students who want a chance to spend a week doing what they love: journalism. 

The High School Journalism Institute Program by Indiana University located in Bloomington provides a variety of opportunities for high school students interested in broadening their skills and knowledge of journalism, and furthermore, also aids in providing high school students from all over a glimpse on the college experience for a week. This extensive summer program is said by participants to be an extremely helpful and wonderful experience for high school students who have a passion for journalism.

HJSI participants, seniors Maggie Phelps and Zoë Harris, do background research for an interview task in the feature and opinion writing course in the IU summer program. Phot by Lara Varella

“Doing this course takes away some anxiety that picking a major and going to university gives me,” rising senior Zoë Harris said. “The HSJI program will teach me a lot of things I wanted to know how to do in my upcoming senior year,” she added.

Through the various workshops offered, the Indiana journalism program aims to ‘develop skills as media consumers and as journalists’ which is why 80 high school students chose to engage in this program, in hopes of gaining more expertise to take back to their school papers for the next school year. They claim that this course can sharpen their skills in their preferred areas of journalism. 

Rising senior Maggie Phelps from Kentucky has stated that she thinks “There are always things I can learn and fields in which I can grow. Expanding my experience in journalism is important and HSJI can do that”, showing that she believes HSJI can aid her in the future. Furthermore, Harris additionally added that the IU HSJI program would help her “learn details [about journalism] and feel more assured” which is why she has chosen to attend the summer program this year. 

In addition to assisting journalism lovers with improving their current skills, the HSJI program  has the goal to prepare high school students for college life by giving them a full campus experience. Letting them stay in the dorms on the university campus for a whole week largely appeals to the students, especially seniors, who want to get a taste of life in college before their last year of high school approaches. Through this program, students are able to interact and meet new people from all over just as they would when they actually start going to university which can prepare them for the future that lies ahead of them. 

“Once I found this program was here and let me stay on campus, I knew this was a good opportunity to live on campus”.senior Allara Baker said. “As someone who is nervous about the transition from high school to college, this experience will be beneficial to me as I finally decided on this major.”

Many students have also particularly picked this program due its enrichment of the knowledge of journalism which is proving to be helpful for students focused on pursuing this career path. The University of Indiana hopes that students will ‘explore journalism careers’ during this summer course which proves to be a big reason for these students attending the HSJI program.

“It is good to have time to improve my own craft and get a glimpse into college journalism as it will make me see the journalism I want to do in the future.” Baker said.

 All participants of the course have stated how this experience will give them “a clearer path” in regards to careers and their future pursuits.

Moreover, there are benefits given by IU for high school students. There is available funding for first generation college attendees or scholarships for the journalism program which many of the students received.

“They offered the multicultural grant and I didn’t have to pay for anything out of pocket. That was a big advantage of the HSJI program,” Harris said.

Plenty of students from far across the United States and even globally have also stated why it is important for this experience to be in specifically in the IU Bloomington campus. For many, it is the perfect chance for them to explore their future optional choice of higher school education that they have dreamed to attend. Phelps, who is planning on potentially attending IU, is excited to familiarize herself with the campus and college work in which she will be soon partaking after finishing senior year. 

“HSJI has everything I was looking for in a summer program. I think it will be the thing to open my eyes further to the world of journalism,” she said.