Live from camp: The beginning of the end

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Yesterday marked the beginning of our last week at camp. For Friday, the weather forecast predicts an overcast sky and a 70% chance of waterworks; however, meteorology is one of the many professions in which you can pull numbers out of your butt and no one can blame you when your predictions don’t actually happen, so don’t rely too much on that prognosis (or on me, for that matter, because I’m the one who came up with it.)

Yet, terribly rendered attempts at humor aside, I shall do my best to write an appropriately themed blog that captures both the events of yesterday and the essence of our weeklong stay.

Yesterday was a moderately eventful day, which I shall try to summarize as accurately as possible. The first half was spent in the classroom, reviewing multiple drafts of our articles as Lynda insisted on turning them into the journalistic equivalent of Michelangelo’s David. I believe that, as we labored over phrasing and searched tirelessly for those diamond-in-the-rough quotes, a few of our members who were finished with their final drafts took off early for a visit to the Pioneer Press. A typical morning in ThreeSixty Journalism, I would say, in which Facebook chatting probably took up more time than productive work. The afternoon was arguably more exciting. We visited the KSTP broadcasting station and received a thorough tour of the premises as well as a behind-the-scenes look into reporting work. We were even presented with a chance to sit in at the studio. But the exciting part actually came in later when we went to Panera Bread for dinner. (I jest)

However, this is just a small part of our experiences for the past week or so. Every day, we have been given the opportunity to learn new things and to explore the métier of a journalist. For most of us, I’m sure, this is uncharted territory full of secret rules of journalism and. As a personal story, I had quite the encounter with a woman who answered the phone for the Republican party of Minnesota. I had called to gather information on my article, but she seemed to have difficulty answering my questions about voter outreach, so instead of referring me to someone else, she took the next best option: informing me that a student journalist would never get the time of day to get any answers out of the staff at political offices.

But silly members of the GOP aside, I’ve had a nice time at camp. Everyone has been quite pleasant—despite your perfunctory teenage drama—and I’ve enjoyed most of our speakers and outings. Although I’m not certain that journalism will be a route I wish to pursue (too many opinions that must remain unsaid), I believe that this has been a valuable experience for me, at least in grasping the basics of the writing, researching, and interviewing work. I don’t doubt that it’ll prove to be valuable in the future.

So, I’ll just dedicate a couple words of gratitude to those who organized the entire experience and made it accessible to all of us. In particular, it would only be appropriate to thank Ariel and Chris for taking care of us, as I can’t imagine a worse way to spend two weeks of one’s summer than babysitting a group of high school students. But more than babysitters, in all seriousness, they’ve also been great advisers and great friends to us. Lynda, too, deserves our thanks, as the entire program wouldn’t be available without her efforts. Yet, more than coordinating, she also decided to take an active role in helping us improve our articles, and despite how painstaking it may be to write six drafts of the same content, we must really appreciate her efforts to ensure that our reports are at their best quality. While it may be a little bit early to get deep into expressions of our unlimited gratitude, I felt the shout-out was somewhat necessary. Plus, it makes my blog look longer.

Diana Lu, Intermediate Camp ’12

Diana Lu
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