My journalism career launched in earnest many summers ago at Northwestern University’s Cherubs high school program (it has gone through several official names, but ask any program alum and he’ll refer to it as Cherubs). I’ve since had the pleasure of teaching twice at this long-running Northwestern journalism program, which is somewhere in between summer camp and summer school.
In more recent years, I’ve taught newswriting at American University’s Discover the World of Communication program. Both teaching gigs have given me the chance to teach the youngest journalists in an environment that encourages exploration and is without grades. Teaching high school students is particularly refreshing because they are just starting to find their voice as a writer. I’m often students’ first introduction to journalism — and I take that role seriously.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to the Teen Observer, the summer program’s web site that features students’ work. They write about guest speakers and events they attend, craft features about other students and pitch their own ideas. By the time they leave they are vastly improved writers and have a catalog of at least three stories to show colleges and future employers.