Two years ago, three students created Orca Tribe Project, a youth initiative that seeks to connect local artists with journalism and promotion. To help their project, I assumed the role of Assistant Director of Journalism where I mentored writers and created the assignments.
To keep their project alive, I founded Life of a Story, a summer journalism workshop for high school students wanting to learn feature writing and to get their work published on Orca Tribe. Last summer, with the help of an English teacher, I led a week-long workshop with 18 students where I invited professional journalists from the community to give lessons, provide feedback and I edited every story. To get the workshop approved, I worked closely with the school administration as well as corresponding with local artists in advance for them to agree to an interview with a student.
For the second year, Life of a Story will take place this summer for an extended time of 9 days with an added course for advanced students who attended the workshop last year. The official description is the following and it is posted on the school's website here.
Life of a Story journalism workshop seeks to give young Minnesota high school journalists a rare opportunity to interview people (artists, writers) in the greater community, write about them, and publish their interviews and articles for everyone to read at Orca Tribe, a community initiative and publication that connects young Minnesota artists through their website and social media. Orca Tribe was founded by three SPA graduates from 2017.
Life of a Story hopes to provide a level of guidance and professionalism in journalistic writing that most young journalists may not get working on their high school paper. Students would attend this focused workshop in the mornings and spend time pursuing their own stories in the afternoons where they will interview local Minnesota artists and write feature stories to be published on Orca Tribe. A focal emphasis of Life of a Story will be on the individual journalistic pursuit. Journalists will be guided and encouraged to connect with their interviewees, ask thought-provoking questions, and compose well-written and edited stories about their chosen artist. The final product will be their own story published on Orca Tribe.
Unlike last year, this year there will be a novice and advanced course. The advanced course is offered to students who attended Life of a Story last year or have great exposure and experience with feature writing. Students placed in the advanced course will pursue two stories, instead of the one given to novice students, and will have the independence to work on their stories as they please. Counselors will work individually with advanced students to mentor, check-in and answer any questions.
To promote the workshop to prospective students, I have presented the slideshow below to students this winter. To see the stories written by students and published by me last summer, visit this website. Selected examples of page layouts I created can be found here.