WKU hosts week-long high school journalism workshop

WKU hosted high school students from around the country for a week-long workshop on multiplatform journalism.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 4:43 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Western Kentucky University hosted high school students from around the country for a week-long workshop on multiplatform journalism.

It covers everything from story pitches, interviews, video and story editing. However, for some local students, the workshop meant more than strictly academic development.

“Three of the students from Caverna want to start a student newspaper. Their school is hoping to bring that back, and that’s huge. I’m hoping that they can take the skills that they’ve learned here and sort of be peer mentors for their classmates and convey what they’ve learned. We need journalism more than ever, and that includes student journalists,” said Tessa Duvall, Frankfort Bureau Chief for the Lexington Herald and one of the instructors for the course.

Kiana Kirk, a junior at Caverna High School, says that she and two of her classmates hope to gain enough experience through the workshop to bring pride to their high school.

“Our school gets like, bashed because of its name. We’re trying to show that we’re capable of doing the things that we can do, and show the talent that’s at our school,” said Kirk.

Through the week-long workshop, the students are led by world-class journalists like Duvall, as well as Pulitzer Prize awardee, Gary Hairlson, who has overseen the workshop from its beginnings in 1985.

“Over 40 years, I mean the technical side of what we do has changed so much. We started off using film back in the day, with dark rooms. I had to teach students how to roll film on these little stainless steel reels,” said Hairlson.

The students are now able to experience every part of the journalistic process and learn from the best along the way.

“They get the whole immersion of journalism and what all we have to offer. They’re basically one-man bands and they get to learn a little bit about everything,” said Hairlson.

Friday, students worked to finalize their stories before presenting them Saturday and finishing out their time at WKU. Their instructors believe the students have grown into accomplished future journalists, and have the talent to continue to pursue their passions.

“Some of them are covering really complex topics around the environment and sustainability. They’re able to take this dense, scientific information and display it in a way that makes sense to you or me who have no background in this. That’s a really impressive feat for a 16 or 17-year-old to pull off,” said Duvall.

Instructors hope that at the end of the workshop, the students from Caverna will leave with the tools to create a long-lasting student newspaper.