For a few hours on Saturday, Feb. 11, a group of Philadelphia-area students shifted their attention from all things Eagles to all things journalism.
The aftermath of the Super Bowl and its severe hangover would come later, but uppermost in their minds this day was the start of the 39th annual Acel Moore high school journalism workshop.
As if Super Bowl hype wasn’t enough, these aspiring student journalists walked into a new, state-of-the-art Inquirer newsroom for the first time along with staff volunteers.
“This newsroom is only six days old,” said Gabe Escobar, senior vice president and editor of the Inquirer in his welcoming address. “And I can’t think of a better way to launch our new tenure in this beautiful and functional space than by hosting all of you and the Acel Moore program, which is one of the great and lasting traditions at The Inquirer.”
The workshop, founded by the late Acel Moore, a Pulitizer-Prize winning reporter and columnist at the Inquirer, attracted 14 students from 11 schools across the region. With an assist from mentors and facilitators, the workshop teaches participants the fundamentals of print and photojournalism.
During the month-long event, students pitch their own ideas then craft their news articles and visual projects for publication on the workshop’s website.
“This is a rare opportunity for you to test drive a profession, and see what it feels like, to gauge your interest and maybe, maybe, instill a passion,” said Escobar, who was appointed editor in November of 2020.
The veteran journalist worked at the Washington Post for 16 years as a reporter on the local and national desks and as a foreign correspondent in Latin America. Escobar is leading the paper’s transformation to a digital-first enterprise.
“I wish I had had this at your age. I would have known sooner, much sooner, that this is what I wanted to do.
“The future of journalism depends on many things. But primarily – and importantly —the future of journalism depends on the journalists of the future. In other words, people like you,” he said.