Written by Brian Donohue, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 30 January 2014 00:00
This past December, the Harbour Voice staff of Oyster Bay High School attended Hofstra University’s Student Press Day. This free day, sponsored by the Lawrence Herbert School of Journalism, gave students access to prominent journalists in both large group and small group settings.
Setting the tone for the day was School of Journalism Chairwoman Carol Fletcher, who spoke to the students about the “cataclysmic changes” the journalism field is currently going through, particularly with social media. Today’s journalists are creating new rules and ethics in regard to privacy in this digital age.
Fletcher argued, “Americans have never consumed more news than we do now. The thirst for news has never been greater.”
She concluded her opening remarks by reminding the students that one of the primary goals of a journalist is to “give voice to the voiceless.”
Following Fletcher’s opening remarks, the students were treated to a keynote speech, followed by a question and answer period by Hofstra graduate and co-host of Fox Sports 1’s Crowd Goes Wild, Katie Nolan. Nolan spoke about her unconventional route to the co-host chair and her experiences in the field. Starting out making YouTube videos, Nolan eventually became a contributor to the men’s humor website Guyism before landing her current job with Fox Sports 1, where she works alongside legendary host Regis Philbin.
Nolan spoke about how journalism does not have to be boring. Whether it is an article covering an election or a segment watching Mike Tyson throwing darts blindfolded at a dartboard (which she facilitated), both stories are journalistic.
“Journalism is getting information to people,” Nolan said.
Continuing Fletcher’s opening remarks, Nolan asserted, “Journalism is not dead. It is more alive than ever before. What’s dead is the traditional idea of journalism. You can’t have a closed mind; use the tools that are at your fingertips.”
After a short break in which the students had the opportunity to take pictures with Nolan, associate professor of journalism Peter Goodman facilitated a panel discussion with prominent journalists.
Perhaps the most famous panelist was Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Richard Drew, best known for his coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks, and his “Falling Man” picture. Drew spoke about how the responsibility of a journalist is to tell a story. Whether it was his coverage of 9/11 or his coverage of the Bobby Kennedy assassination (he was one of only four journalists in the room when Kennedy was shot), he knew that he had the responsibility to show the world what was happening at the time. He and the other panelists warned the students that they shouldn’t embellish the news: “Lies can be and will be found out.” As a journalist, they said, “You can’t control what happens. The only thing we control is how we respond.”
The students then broke off into small group workshops. Sophomore Joaquin Contreras noted, “Just because you know a lot about sports doesn’t mean you know how to write about sports.”
He and the other students were instructed that sports writing is more about the craft of writing than it is about knowing players and statistics. Freshman Jed Kaiser enjoyed listening to the stories of the famous athletes the presenter worked with.
Junior and Harbour Voice illustrator Alanna Petrone attended the graphic design workshop. “We saw examples of what his students created in his classes. It was a way for us to see what we would create if we went to the school.”
Richard Drew led the photography session. Junior Alyse Gordon commented, “It was interesting. It was very inspirational, but it was a bit depressing to think that Drew had to witness these horrific events and not be able to do anything about them.”
Overall, the students enjoyed an inspirational day and came away with renewed focus and drive for the school paper.
Junior Nate Atherholt remarked, “It was a great day, I had fun. After hearing the stories in the sports workshop, I really want to be a sports reporter now.”