Students visit WHYY and learn lessons that transcend medium

During week two of the Acel Moore High School Journalism Workshop, students took a trip to the WHYY facility located in downtown Philadelphia. They met with Sandy Clark, vice president for news and civic dialogue at WHYY, and Annette John-Hall, a WHYY reporter, to learn more about the profession of journalism and the grit needed to succeed in the field.

“Something speaks to you,” said Clark as she explained the concept of journalism instincts to the young scholars; according to Clark, an authentic journalist sees a story in places most people would otherwise miss. Journalists see more than what’s on the topsoil of their surroundings.

Clark reminded the young journalists to answer one specific question when reporting:  “Why should somebody care (about the story we as journalists are telling)?” Journalists inform the public of news the majority of the population wants to know about and is interested in; viewers need to be engaged in the story for it to be impactful and educational.

(Zuha Mutan/Workshop)

One of the biggest tips Clark and John-Hall had for the scholars was for them to become “multimedia journalists” that specialize in print, broadcasting, and radio journalism. Each story has a different approach. For example, audio news helps viewers live in the story and radio news helps listeners hear the passion in the subject’s voice.

Furthermore, Clark and John-Hall reiterated another concept mentioned during the workshop’s first session: credibility.

“Our credibility is all we have,” said John-Hall. Clark agreed, saying, “Everything that we do relies on our credibility.” As the idea of fake news continues to grow, reporters need to be careful not to jeopardize the credibility of their work and the credibility of news outlets.

Later in the session, students received a tour of the WHYY studio, and they had the opportunity to take pictures in the radio station.

Clark and John-Hall left the students with a life hack: If you love what you do and you would do it for free, then it’s a career, not a job.

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