A dozen teens from across the state recently completed the 12-day Journalism Diversity Workshop for Arizona High School Students, hosted by the University of Arizona. According to the program's assistant director, John deDios, the students received instruction from professors and working journalists, and then produced an eight-page newspaper of their own called The Chronicle. For the first time, the newspaper this year contained stories in three languages--English, Spanish and Hopi. View The Chronicle online .
How were the students selected?
We send out mailers at the beginning of April to all the high schools in Arizona, and then the mailers go to their journalism teachers or counselors. Then they will start nominating students for the program.
So they were all nominated?
Yes. Actually, no. I take that back. One student actually found us and called us, and asked how he could apply for the program.
He showed some initiative.
Yes. He's from Salpointe (Catholic High School).
So what did all these students do during this program?
For the whole time they were here, they were in journalism classes for reporting, design, Photoshop, photojournalism, PR, crisis coverage, foreign correspondents, law and ethics, interviewing, coverage of press conferences and rewriting press releases. I'm sure they had other things that I can't remember off the top of my head.
How was the paper translated?
We sent it to translators who volunteered their time to translate the stories, and then they just sent it back. We had a couple of people who speak the language read it over and edit the stories. Jacqueline (Kuder, who also happens to be an intern at the Weekly) actually edited this one's Spanish stories, and the Hopi stories were done by the father of one of the students. He is a program coordinator for a cultural center on their reservation in Polacca, Ariz.
Can you tell me about the stories they covered?
I think it's typical in the program that a lot of stories are not just campus stories. A lot of them try to cover teen issues like depression. Teen pregnancy is a popular one. And there was skin cancer for this one, too. We have a couple of sports (stories). The student from Salpointe was actually a big fan of the UA sports here, so he took his time doing all of that. He did two stories on those. And the Native American students--one was Hopi, and the other was Navajo--covered American Indian studies and American Indian students here at the university.
How long has this program been around?
It's been around for a little more than 25 years. Professor (Bill) Greer has been in charge of it for many of those years--I think since at least the middle of the 1990s.
Did the students get something for graduating?
They got a little diploma signed by the directors, and we gave them a lot of little handouts that pretty much deal with journalism.
No fabulous cash and prizes?
No fabulous cash or prizes--although the student who lived the farthest did get a used (Associated Press) Stylebook.
Where did that student come from?
Polacca, which is six hours away. It's just a little past Flagstaff.
Did you get a sense of how they felt about the program?
We are going to be sending out two evaluation forms for them to be filling out, and they'll be sending those back within the next week or so. For the last two years that I've worked with this program, the popular (class) has been Mr. (Paul) Johnson's PR lecture.
Tell me about that lecture.
The big part of that is that Mr. Johnson, the senior faculty advisor here, brings out a big pad of paper for all the students, and they are to draw what they see themselves doing in five years. ... One of our students this year--the one from Lakeside, Ariz.; her name is Crystal Begay--she actually had her whole life planned out, up to her retirement, which I thought was pretty funny. A lot of us with the department who were working with the program were pretty impressed.
She had her whole life planned out?
After the program, she's going to go back and plans to go to college. (She knows) when she's going to buy a house and get married to her current boyfriend--I think they're at the promise-ring stage. And then they're going to sell the house after she graduates, and she's hoping to get into something to do with design and art. She's looking at architecture and welding, of all things. She's going to go work on those and eventually retire later on. It was pretty impressive, considering a lot of students didn't get that far with that.