I found my passion!

I’m busy at work at the Long Island Ducks ballgame. Photo by Inna Ali. (July 18, 2018)

I came to Stony Brook University Saturday not remotely aware that I was about to have an experience of a lifetime. After five days at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists, I can safely say that I have had the full journalism experience and it was great!

On the first day we warmed up by meeting to discuss the stories we were interested in writing about. The Greene Team was enthusiastically spitting out ideas. It was impressive.

We got straight to the action on the second day when learned the fundamentals of writing, reporting, photography and videography. My favorite part was photography. I was never interested in photography before because I wasn’t educated about it. But as soon as I learned about f-stop, shutter speed, ISO and exposure, I was ready to capture some magic.

On Tuesday, there were more lessons from the day before, and we prepared to for our field reporting assignments.

My favorite day of the whole week was Wednesday. We got a chance to meet professors and veteran journalists Marcy McGinnis and Connie Conway. I got a chance to sit in the broadcast studio and serve as a reporter as well as a member of the technical support team. I was nervous at first about speaking on camera, but I enjoyed it.

Later that day the Greene Team got a chance to tour Newsday’s newsroom and learn a little bit more about the paper’s history. Did you know Newsday was started by Alicia Patterson in 1940?

After the Newsday tour, we were journeyed to a Long Island Ducks game. We got a chance to hold a press conference with Michael Polak, the director of media relations and broadcast. Then we went out into the stands to interview people for our story. I approached people to ask them questions, something I wouldn’t have done in my normal day-to-day life. Some people didn’t want to talk, but I didn’t feel discouraged by it. As my mom always says, “You have to have a thick skin to become a journalist.” I guess I just developed my thick skin!

I really enjoyed my days here at Greene Insitute. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I will take the skills I developed here make them useful. I walked into this program torn between two professions—acting and journalism—and I’m walking away stuck on journalism. It has everything I’ve ever been interested in and I’m grateful to have had this experience.

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