Live from July camp: Day 1

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Room No. 303 in the O’Shaughnessy Education Center located on the St. Thomas campus is where it all began. Sixteen students and three mentors gathered to meet each other for the first time on July 6. Looking across the room, you can see a wide variety of people all with their own unique ideas that they are going to share.

We started the day off by introducing ourselves and stated who we were, where we were from, the schools we were attending, and our ages. It was quite interesting to see where everyone was coming from; they were from all over the state!

After the introductions, the second objective of the day was to consider: Why journalism?

This was when all students brought to the surface the reasoning for why they were intrigued by journalism. The majority answer was based on the idea that journalism is a way to express one’s self. That encompasses our country’s first amendment which we discussed in depth with our mentors. We have the freedom of press and which allows us to express human ideas and feelings. Yet, at the same moment, we have a responsibility in writing to be truthful and unbiased.

We were taught that journalism has ethics which are increasingly important and should not be ignored. We had a discussion about the consequences of being biased, which may be appropriate in some situations, but inappropriate when your job is to represent another fairly.

We discussed the major components of journalism including accuracy, plagiarism, and attention to detail.

In the afternoon, we put our newly learned skills to work by trekking out on campus to find a person to interview. We asked them the question: ‘What was the funniest thing that happened to you over the Fourth of July weekend?’

It may not have been easy at first, but everyone eventually found someone to answer that question. We made sure to get additional details based on the interviewee’s answer. Before we turned the lights off for the day in room 303, we compared interview answers and had lots of laughs.

— Mary Meehan, July 2010 Introduction to Journalism camp

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