Summer camp, Newhouse-style

July 13, 2009

Syracuse high school students tell stories around the new media campfire

Ten Syracuse city high school students learned to be storytellers in words, sounds and pictures at Syracuse University’s J-Camp during the week of June 29—July 3. 

J-Camp—for “journalism camp”—is a special program created by three professors and underwritten by the dean of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. This was the first year for the program. 

J-Camp's three creators were Sherri Taylor, a professor of design; Bob Lloyd, a newspaper journalism professor; and Charlotte Grimes, the Knight Chair in Political Reporting. 

“We were just thrilled with the students’ dedication and the work they produced,” said Grimes.

Lloyd, who has researched trends in journalism for a well-regarded textbook, praised the students’ growth. "J-camp took students with a moderate exposure to journalism and opened their eyes to the wonders of non-fiction storytelling. I was impressed with how far the students advanced in just four days,” said Lloyd. “At the end, they had produced quality work on several media platforms. That says it all for me."

Taylor also runs a similar program, the School Press Institute,  for high school students from across the country “J-Camp provided an amazing opportunity for the students to immerse themselves in journalistic story-telling, both visually and verbally,” said Taylor. “They left this this workshop with the ability to continue to tell stories from their communities and share them online.”

In J-Camp, the students learned to capture and edit sound and video, to interview and research background information, and to write stories. Their work is at

Each student received a digital camera and learned to create Web sites so they can continue their storytelling in their communities. 

Funding for J-Camp came from a special grant by Newhouse School Dean Lorraine Branham

Four of the students are from Nottingham High School: Molly Naef,  Rylah Orr, Vivian Gunn and Katya Waters. Three are from Corcoran High School: Arielle Kaigler-Hall, Tonielle Moore and Riley Stroman. And three are from Fowler High School: Jamal Reed, Tina Thach and Caitlin Quigley. 

As graduates of J-Camp, the ten students will be invited to return to the Newhouse School for special events throughout the school year.