Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU hosts high school students for journalism day

More than 300 high school students from 26 schools across the Denver-metro area gathered at the University of Denver April 11 for the 22nd annual Rocky Mountain News and CBS4 High School Journalism Day.

“We want to get high school students excited and interested in careers in communications,” said Chris Henning, recruiting and marketing director for DU’s Department of Mass Communications and Journalism Studies. “We want them exposed to all the facets and possibilities in journalism.”

During four workshop sessions students got to choose from a variety of topics, including meteorology, newspaper design and layout, producing a documentary and cartooning.

Deb Goeken, managing editor of the Rocky Mountain News, told students what a day in the life of a newspaper journalist looks like.

“The job of a journalist is changing right before our eyes,” Goeken said.

Goeken told students that newspaper reporters are having to become skilled in multi-media, taking pictures with their cell phones when they arrive on the scene of breaking news and learning to take video of the scenes before gathering information on the story.

“Dealing with multimedia is probably not new for you,” Goeken said. “But it can be a big challenge for journalists who have been in the industry for a long time.”

Joe Rassenfoss, the Rocky’s entertainment editor, offered critiques of student newspapers. A group from Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora took advantage of the critique.

“I’m looking to learn what I can do better,” said Lauren Vermilion, a senior at Cherokee Trail. “We got mostly positive feedback, but the entire day is helpful to get ideas about layout, design and selling ads.”

Cherokee’s newspaper adviser Tina Barber said their school has taken advantage of High School Journalism Day for four of the past five years.

“I think students that participate in their newspapers in high school and college learn a skill set that is incredibly marketable,” Barber said. “They learn to deal with other people; I think it’s the only high school setting that reflects what the real world looks like.”

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