High school students immerse in journalism at Medill

About 200 students from the Chicago area arrived at Medill for High School Journalism Day on Friday, Oct. 25.

Students from 15 schools spent the day at Medill, where they attended journalism workshops and listened to speeches by media professionals.

"[The event] offers them the chance to swap story ideas and journalistic practices," said Carrie Porter, an adjunct lecturer and co-coordinator of High School Journalism Day. "It's wonderful to watch the sparks fly between another generation of journalists."

High School Journalism Day commenced with a welcome from Dean Brad Hamm, who shared with the audience his decision to pursue journalism as a sports reporter while in high school and the importance of good journalism.

Following the welcome, students split off into media workshops based on their preferences. A lunch and second set of workshops were scheduled before the day’s highlight event, a keynote address from a Chicago journalist.

This year’s keynote speaker was Linda Lutton, an education reporter for WBEZ radio.

Lutton explained to the students their role as journalists and shared her experience reporting for public radio.

Earlier this year, Lutton contributed to a piece about Harper High School, a school in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood plagued by gun violence, for National Public Radio’s This American Life. Because of the radio piece, first lady Michelle Obama spoke at Harper High School in the few weeks after it aired.

“My job is to report about schools and youth issues,” Lutton told the audience. “Basically my job is to report on your world.”

High School Journalism Day is a tradition at Medill facilitated by Assistant Professor Caryn Brooks and Porter. Because the program brings together aspiring journalists from the area, many students who participate in the event go on to study at Medill.

"The day went smoothly and most importantly the students and their advisers left with more knowledge about the topics they wanted to hear about," Brooks said.

“The highlights of the program are bringing students the experience of Medill, giving them access to Medill faculty and the dean and showing them that there's a world-class journalism school right in their own backyard."