News: Marines partner with the National Association of Black Journalists
NEW ORLEANS – Journalism is a challenging profession that requires a level of technical polish, which can take years to attain. An early start in those technical aspects can separate the good journalists from the great ones. Alongside academe and industry professionals, the United States Marine Corps helped a group of New Orleans youth achieve that early start June 17-21 in conjunction with the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention June 20-24.
This was the first year the Marines had an official partnership with the NABJ, and they were asked to come to the convention in New Orleans a few days early to work with staff from Xavier University and the NABJ at the NABJ High School Journalism Lab, or JShop, for high school students.
The JShop provided an opportunity for the mostly local high school students to participate in a hands-on journalism workshop to develop their reporting skills and have their work showcased at the annual convention and career fair. Maj. Carl Redding Jr., Capt. Kenneth Kunze and Master Sgt. Christopher Cox, all Public Affairs Marines, worked with journalism professors and active journalists from around the nation to help guide the group of 20 students through the basics of journalism.
“It was an honor and privilege to work with these aspiring young journalists,” said Kunze. “With amazing NABJ media professionals showing these kids everything there is to know about journalism, how can we not expect them to be excited about the field? JSHOP is an amazing program that Public Affairs Marines are lucky to be a part of.”
Reginald Wayne Ragland, a co-director of the JShop, retired Army lieutenant colonel and Defense Information School graduate, was thrilled the Marines were able to attend as mentors.
“The Marines were essential to providing a mentor-rich environment – especially because they are DINFOS trained media professionals," Ragland said. “They were able to step right in and provide the exact same level of journalistic expertise that I expect of working civilian journalists.”
JShop also provided the Marines with an opportunity to highlight the role journalism and public affairs plays in the Marine Corps and gave them a chance to teach the students about the Marine Corps leadership traits and principles.
The NABJ High School Journalism Lab was established in 1976 and until recently, was sponsored by a local chapter of the NABJ and was held independently of the national convention. In the last three years, the workshop evolved into the “JShop” and moved to the national level, occurring in the same city as the annual NABJ convention and drawing stronger support.
Aaron Ladd, who will be a junior at Parkview High School in the Fall, came away from JShop with more than he was expecting.
“Coming into the workshop, I felt as if I knew everything there was to know about journalism,” said Ladd. “I didn’t know that I had barely scratched the surface of what a journalism career had to offer. The workshop was great and I learned a lot.”
The students for the 2012 JShop were recruited by Xavier University staff and came to the program with differing levels of journalism experience.
Mia Williams, a recent graduate from Ursuline High School, discovered journalism is more than a fancy way to present information.
“I learned that what I say matters just as much as how I say it,” Williams said. “I can bring different issues to light based on what I turn my focus toward.”
The workshop culminated with a luncheon attended by parents of the students. At the luncheon, the products the JShop students produced were presented.
Williams was recognized by the Marine mentors during the luncheon for showcasing many of the leadership qualities that are hallmarks of Marine Corps leadership traits and principles over the course of the workshop, and was presented the Excellence in Leadership award by Col. Thomas V. Johnson.
“I was surprised when I received the Excellence in Leadership award from the Marines,” Williams said. “I believe all of the students showed leadership skills, but I am thankful that the Marine Corps chose me as the recipient.”
In addition to the JShop, the Marines ran two physical training sessions for NABJ members and set up a booth in the convention center, which gave them a chance to educate the members of the organization about the opportunities the Marine Corps can provide both inside and outside the Corps – including the Fredrick C. Branch scholarships, Diamond Flight Football Camp scholarships, Leadership Workshops, Educators Workshops, and careers as Marine officers.
Date Posted:07.03.2012 14:29
Location:NEW ORLEANS, LA, US
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