Summer workshops for journalism students

I have compiled a few summer journalism program that your students may be interested in applying to. Most of these are free but very competitive. However, students should still apply if they are interested. Attending these workshops look great on student’s resumes and college applications. Plus, they learn much about journalism and will get a chance to meet students from across the country.

I am including programs that I know about and have heard great things about. I have attended some of these or my students have. I have listed the free ones first. The ones toward the bottom charge a fee but scholarships are often available.

1. Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference (current 11th graders)

The annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference program awards $1,000 college scholarships to rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualities of “free spirit.”

Students will come to Washington, D.C., June 20-25, 2015, to participate in an all-expenses-paid journalism conference at the Newseum, located at 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. This program began in 1999 and is funded by the Freedom Forum to honor Al Neuharth, the founder of USA TODAY, Newseum and the Freedom Forum. The scholarships and conference are designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue journalism.

Students who are high school juniors in the 2014-2015 academic year are eligible to apply. Fifty-one students, representing each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., will be accepted to attend the conference.


Deadline: Feb. 1.

2. Princeton Journalism Camp (juniors only)

The Princeton University Summer Journalism Program welcomes about 20 high school students from low-income (custodial parent can’t make more than $45,000) backgrounds every summer to Princeton’s campus for an intensive, 10-day seminar on journalism. The program usually is held at the beginning of August. The program’s goal is to diversify college and professional newsrooms by encouraging outstanding students from low-income backgrounds to pursue careers in journalism. All expenses, including students’ travel costs to and from Princeton, are paid for by the program. Students who attend the program come from across the country. The program is currently in its 12th  year.


Deadline: Feb. 20

3. Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Journalism Camp 2014 (9-11th grade) (You don’t have to be Asian)

AAJA is now accepting applications for its J Camp  2015, which will take place Aug. 3-8 at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply to this all-expense paid program. The six-day training camp brings together a culturally diverse group of students from across the nation to learn from veteran journalists and media executives. JCamp participants will receive hands-on training and produce multi-platform news packages for the program’s news website. FYI: I’ve had two newspaper and one yearbook editor-in-chiefs selected to attend this camp and they came back with great leadership skills and confidence to lead their classmates.


Deadline: March 15

4. Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School’s 2014 Summer High School Journalism Institute (current seniors are eligible)

The Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism offers several summer programs that provide support and training for high school journalism students and their teachers. Among the programs are two full-immersion summer programs for high school students interested in journalism—the Summer High School Broadcast Institute and the Summer Digital Media Institute. Both are free and will be held May 31 to June 12. One of my students attended this workshop during the summer of 2014 and he learned much from it.


Deadline: March 13

5. Newspapers2

Newspapers2 offers a workshop at Cal State Long Beach. This workshop offers a variety of hands-on courses. I’ve had four students attend Newspapers2 over the course of three summers. There is also an advisers strand that I’ve attended for two summer. A scholarship from the Southern California Journalism Education Association will be available later this spring for students interested in applying for Newspapers2. The application for Newspapers2 isn’t available yet but the workshop is usually held in the first few days of August.

6. ASNE’s SchoolJournalism.Org has a list of high school journalism summer programs. Some programs charge a fee, so read the information carefully. If you are interested in one that charges, apply for scholarships.

7. Dow Jones News Fund has an extensive list of programs all across the country. Check out the site and read the information carefully to find out if programs charge or are free. If you are interested in one that charges fees, apply for scholarships or financial aid.




10 fundraising tips for your journalism program

We usually book two or three gourmet food trucks for Back to School or Open House nights.

We usually book two or three gourmet food trucks for Back to School or Open House nights.

Selling advertising is probably the best way to fund your journalism program. But my newspaper and yearbook students seem to have trouble selling ads to local businesses. So to help offset publishing costs and to raise money to attend the national high school journalism conventions, I’ve turned to fundraising. Here are some tips that have worked for our program and might work for yours, too.

10. School Rules: Check with your school about fundraising rules. In some schools, you have to split the proceeds of your fundraising 50-50 with the student body. To circumvent splitting proceeds, you might consider setting up a Booster Club or going through PTSA to sponsor fundraisers.

9. Avoid Paying in Advance: Avoid fundraisers where you give a large amount of money upfront (so no In-In-Out trailer coming to school or Laser Tag). Frozen yogurt is OK because the amount you pay up front is usually minimal and the items sells out.

8. Students Take Charge: Have each student in charge of organizing a fundraiser. That means setting it up, promoting it (on campus and via social media) and being there the day of the event.

Behind the counter at McDonald's on McTeacher's Night fundraiser.

Behind the counter at McDonald’s on McTeacher Night fundraiser.

7. Restaurant Nights: Most restaurants (McDonald’s, Panda Ex- press, Chipotle, Shakey’s Pizza, etc.) will give you a portion of the proceeds of a particular night. I prefer McDonald’s McTeacher’s Night because no flier is needed and you get a portion of all proceeds that evening. Some McDonald’s ask that school staff volunteer behind the counter to increase sales.

6.  Popcornopolis: Students take orders for this gourmet popcorn and the money. The items are delivered to you. You earn half of the proceeds of each item sold.

5. Food Truck Nights: Contact food trucks to come out to your campus when you have evening events. You can either have them give you a flat fee ($45 or $50) or you get a portion of the proceeds for the evening.

Students collect tips from customers during a recent fundraiser at McDonald's.

Students collect tips from customers during a recent fundraiser at McDonald’s.

4. Tip Jar: At several of our fundraisers, we also have a tip box and the students ask people for monetary donations. We use it at Food Truck Night, McDonald’s McTeacher’s Night and Shakey’s Pizza Night.

3. Roller Skating, Bowling, Ice Skating: Have some fun and get some exercise while raising money. These fundraisers usually give you cash at the end of the evening.

2. World’s Finest Chocolates: This is one of the best money makers. You get half of all sales. People are familiar with this product, so the chocolates pretty much sell themselves.

1. Online Donations: Donors Choose, You Caring, Go Fund Me. Anyone, including strangers, can donate to your cause. You promote it via social media and students can email to relatives, friends, etc.

I presented these tips during an AdviserFest at Cal State Northridge in October 2014. Advisers there also shared their own fundraisers, which include selling baked goods outside a local Starucks, selling  subscriptions to the student newspaper and selling discount cards to restaurants like Applebee’s.

Good luck on your fundraising efforts. And if you have some fundraisers that worked for you, please share them in a comment.