Journalism Students Attend Summer Workshop


The Hugh N. Boyd workshop helps New Jersey high school students build skills they will use in a classroom and professional setting, including newsgathering, photography and other multimedia skills, such as video editing and production. (Photo courtesy of Boyd Journalism Workshop)

Alex Schwalb, Editor in Chief

Warren Hills juniors Aidan McHenry and Aaliyah Kahn were two of the 13 students from around the state to be selected to attend the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information this past summer.

Founded in 1979 by editor of Home News Hugh N. Boyd and Philadelphia Daily News columnist Chuck Stone, the workshop aims to “encourage youth to consider journalism careers and to emphasize the newspaper industry’s efforts to encourage diversity in staffing and content,” according to the workshop application website.

The program, which is offered to high school sophomores as they transition into their junior year, has a strict application process.

“I really had to push myself when it came to making a perfect application. We had to write about why we were interested in the workshop and how diversity has personally affected us,” Khan said. “I think that the hardest part was the wait to find out if we got accepted; I literally used to check my email five times a day, but when I found out I got in I actually cried.”

“When I submitted my application, I was pretty nervous, and when I got the email saying I got in, I was ecstatic,” McHenry said. “Getting in really gave me confidence in my writing ability as I sent in around five articles and essays.”

With the average workday spanning 14 hours, workshop participants were housed in the Stonier Residence Hall on the Busch Campus in New Brunswick.

Both Khan and McHenry said the schedule was rigorous.

“We had to go straight to work at about 9 and almost every day we would work until 10, with barely any breaks,” Khan said. “It was crazy, and I definitely was not expecting it to be that hardcore.”

“The schedule was quite grueling at times,” McHenry said. “But it was often quite enjoyable.”

During the workshop, students were able to visit major newsrooms located in New York City, including Bloomberg and NBC. These visits gave the students a look at what professional journalism is like and how a newsroom orchestrates daily.

“Going to New York and visiting newsrooms, meeting people in the industry and creating connections was definitely my favorite part of the whole thing,” Khan said. “I liked seeing how people interacted, and all the different jobs in the field.”

Both students said the workshop was integral in helping them understand key concepts and trends in journalism and how they might differ from the high school classroom.

“It helped me learn to meet deadlines in an effective manner,” said McHenry. “I had to finish articles within three days of being assigned.”

  “I improved as a writer,” Khan said. “I explored different ways of writing, got to explore the styles that I liked the most.”