Eleven aspiring journalists participated in the Summer Investigative Journalism Workshop at Quinnipiac University July 21-25.
The workshop, for high school students, kicked off with welcome remarks from organizers Kate Farrish and Lynne DeLucia, who oversees the non-profit Connecticut Health Investigative Team. C-HIT is dedicated to producing original, responsible, in-depth journalism on issues of health and safety in Connecticut and the surrounding region.
"It's encouraging," DeLucia said of the turnout. "I've been in journalism over 30 years and I love it. I'm just hoping we can get the kids jazzed about it. For us, the great reward is that we give them these data sets to work with and hopefully something piques their interest and they want to write about a certain topic. At the end of the week, they've produced a story that's publishable on our website."
The students hailed from Cheshire, Fairfield, Hartford, Manchester and New Haven.
"We're getting a mix of kids," DeLucia said on the first day. "We have students who are interested in journalism, curious about journalism or who are just hoping to work on their research and writing skills. They look at this program as a way to do that."
Eric Padro, a rising senior at High School in the Community in New Haven, said he has always been interested in becoming a journalist. He hoped the workshop will improve his skillset.
"I love to write and I want to have an impact in the community," Padro said. "Journalism can have many impacts, depending on how dedicated you are. I just want to gain some experience. I want to learn what to do to be a good journalist."
Each day consisted of three parts: A morning session teaching reporting and writing skills needed for investigative journalism; a guest speaker; and daily workshop in which students used databases provided by C-HIT to research and write their own publishable stories. The workshop included a trip to WNPR in Hartford.
The guest speakers included Christine Stuart, founder and reporter for ctnewsjunkie.com, Dom Amore, a sportswriter at the Hartford Courant, Angi Carter, online editor at the New Haven Register, and Chloe Poisson, a photographer at the Hartford Courant.
"We tried to come up with a range of people in different fields of journalism," DeLucia said. "We want to show the students the different job opportunities that are available now in the industry."