Summer camp introduces area students to journalism

Camp introduces kids to journalism
Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 at 8:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When you ask children these days what they want to be when they grow up, 'journalist' is usually not at the top of the list.

However, a group of young people in Richmond are dedicating part of their summer to learning more about journalism and getting valuable news they can use to impact the world.

It is quite busy inside this makeshift newsroom at Ephesus Junior Academy in Richmond, because the clock is ticking for this group of young reporters.

Deadlines are serious business, and the writing created under pressure is even more serious - as these students are learning in this two-week summer media camp, presented by BND Institute of Media and Culture.

Today's assignment is interviewing each other and creating profiles to add more content to their website.

This camp is the brainchild of veteran Richmond reporter and instructor, Bonnie Newman Davis, whose mission is to mold a new generation of well-rounded journalists.

"We've talked about ethics. We've talked about newsgathering. We've talked about filmmaking, photography, a little bit of radio, a little bit of hip hop," said Newman Davis.

All of this is news Ava Louis can use.

"I see myself as a director, directing something in maybe TV or movies. I see myself in that area," said Louis.

The 12-year-old began living and breathing all things journalism last year in fifth grade, and it came about in an unusual way.

"I won a coding competition called Black Girls Code in New York, and I won $4,000 for it," said Louis. "It led me to go on 'Good Morning America' with a couple of the other girls that also won. And that showed me a lot of the camera people and actually what it all takes into making a whole TV...everything. It was just really cool. I was already interested in cameras before that, and photography and videography, so I just want to learn more about it."

Speaking of photography, that's where the passion of 17-year-old Johnathan Dyer lies.

"I've done portrait photography, graduation, and I could probably do wedding photography, too. I've done nature, and industrial. all different types," said Dyer. "I like to tell stories, but not writing per se. I like to tell it through pictures and video."

Through this camp, these students explore and test their storytelling abilities through all types of mediums, while also taking field trips and meeting with the people who make a living doing just that - everything from marketing and blogging to hosting talk shows and flying drones.

"This generation is more in touch with social media and can basically do anything that they want, versus people that lived let's say ten years ago. There are many more opportunities to be explored," said Dyer.

For many of these students, the exploration into the future begins in this tiny room filled with big possibilities.

"I'm definitely going to keep working with cameras, and I'm going to make a lot more of my own videos and edit a lot more," said Louis.

"What they are learning here will take them through life, even if they don't get into the field of journalism," said Newman Davis. "We want them to know how to use it effectively to communicate."

This is the first year of the summer media camp.

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