High school honors students from around the country sampled a smorgasbord of local news and communications operations during a two-week course in journalism and mass media sponsored jointly by IUP’s Cook
Honors College and the
Department of Journalism and Public Relations. The short session concluded July 22, 2016.
During the wide-ranging survey class, 21 high-schoolers from New York, Florida, George, California, Pennsylvania, and other states heard presentations from the summer-intern reporter for the HawkEye, a sergeant representing the borough police department, the university’s multimedia public-relations apparatus in Sutton Hall, and the managers of noncommercial broadcasting on WIUP-FM and IUP-TV.
Lively class discussion punctuated every session, said associate professor David Loomis, instructor for the summer boot camp.
“They were a talkative, well-informed, and thoughtful bunch,” Loomis said. “I hope the whole lot of them shows up in my classroom when they come to college.”
During the classroom visit of the local cop, for example, the Q&A session produced revelations that the borough police force is all-white (with one female) and that budget constraints prevent the department from recruiting minorities and purchasing such non-lethal equipment
as tasers. Students practiced reporting and writing skills by composing lead paragraphs summarizing the event.
Students watched the 2016 best-picture Academy Award-winning film Spotlight, a journalism procedural that recounts the 2002 investigative reporting behind the Boston Globe’s revelations of systemic
pedophilia and cover-up in the Catholic Church, a scandal that reverberates locally and globally.
One student said the film was inspirational.
“It made me want to be an investigative reporter and change the world,” said Shelby Green, of Waldorf, Maryland.
In keeping with the Honors College promise that “all students will tackle some of the most basic and debated questions of human existence,” the class discussed current events that touched on media ethics, media law, grammar, and the contemporaneous Republican National Convention in Cleveland.