Tuesday: Learning from each other

Emily Palazzotto, Manoli Figetakis and Rachel Schneider. Photo by Parker Schug. (July 17, 2018)

We are nearing the end of our second full day as The Greene Team.

The past 48 hours have been packed. Whether we are in the newsroom, outside shooting videos and taking photos, or getting in a quick meal, we are always doing something. Despite our 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule, we’ve made sure to squeeze in time to get to know each other at night.

So far, I am over the moon about this program. I’ve met some incredibly hard workers, and we’ve been being taught by the best of the best. One of my favorite mentors has been John Williams. Not only has he taught us the intricacies of photography, such as how to get the perfect exposure, but he has reminded us that each photo we take should tell a story. “Sometimes our ‘mistakes’ create something beautiful,” he said when admiring Chelsea’s photo of a bench pattern being struck by the sun.

I never thought I’d enjoy photography the way I do. While I have struggled a bit, I am determined to get better. At first I did not completely understand why we were setting our ISO, shutter speed and f/stop at certain numbers, but with practice it became easier to understand. The same went for shooting videos. I didn’t completely grasp what was necessary to capture in each b-roll, but again, by filming over and over again, I became more comfortable. My passion for journalism has driven me to make the most of my week here at Stony Brook University.

While I have enjoyed the hands-on learning experience, one of my favorite parts of the past two days have been speaking to those around me. During our lunch break, I spoke to Zoe and Taylor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On our first day of the program, I was reluctant to ask them about their feelings and the state of their community after the recent tragedies. But they were comfortable opening up about it.

Not only did they change my perspective, but they made me understand the reality of the situation like never before. I was so inspired by their strength, and their ability to speak about these issues. Because of people like Taylor and Zoe, changes are being made in society, in politics, and in our everyday lives.

I have learned a lot about journalism, but even more about important issues impacting the world we live in. I feel so fortunate to be part of The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute because of all that I have discovered—and for what’s to come.

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