Giving truth to Memphis youth
by Kira Tucker (Central High School)
Sixty students from different areas of Memphis came together on the week of July 21 to work on something they all have in common – the love for journalism .
The annual, week-long Lionel Linder Journalism Camp brings together Teen Appeal students from schools across the Shelby County Schools district to connect and hone skills like writing, illustration, and photography.
The week’s events took place at the Edward J. Meeman Journalism building at the University of Memphis and the Commercial Appeal building. The students will take what they learned and apply it to many different areas, including staff writing for their local high school-operated paper, as well as for the Teen Appeal.
For many, this is their first experience with the Teen Appeal or anything similar. Once such student was Cordova High senior Kayla Little, who “never really explored this style of writing.” Nithila Ramesh, a junior of White Station High School, said, “It shows that writing is an important skill to have in your everyday life, even if you don’t pursue journalism as a career.”
“What we’re doing here that week is helping young journalists get their start,” said Matthew J. Haught, former journalist and current professor of journalism at the University of Memphis. Other students who have previously been to the camp expressed what a great opportunity the program is. Johnda Washington, a senior at White Station High School, said that this year is “different because I know what to expect out of camp, and I can also help people who are first years. I can be like a peer, but also someone here to help.”
Janae Pitts-Murdock of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Tom Jones of Smart City Memphis, Melissa Kimble of Kimble Communications (based in Chicago), Daarel Burnette II of Chalkbeat Tennessee, Orange Mound: Tennessee director Emmanuel Amido, and recent City University London Broadcast Journalism (MA) graduate Dominic Chase were also a part of the week’s panel of speakers.
Students also heard from a group of Frayser High students returning from a recent trip to Spain, a teen entrepreneurship panel, as well as Tom Hrach and Joe Hayden, both journalism professors at U of M.
Throughout the rest of the year, students will be exploring with guest speakers, interviews, and lectures, all while making news of their own as they begin another year in their journey to becoming young journalists. The journalism camp has provided a foundation for students such as Reginae Butler, who said, “When I came, I didn’t know what to expect, but I met a lot of people and learned a lot of things I wouldn’t have if I had not come to the Teen Appeal.”
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