Our hard work is paying off

As my time here is comes to an end, I am reflecting on how much I have learned and grown this week.

I came into this program not knowing anything about journalism being that I was self-taught. I am leaving with knowledge about the ins-and-outs of journalism.

Today is going to be a chaotic and crazy day as we all rush to meet tonight’s deadline. As much as I have doubted that we would all be able to complete our work by this time at a high caliber, I can now see all off the pieces falling into place.

It is astonishing to me to be able to see all of the work that goes into producing a newspaper. It is even more amazing to see all of our hard work is paying off.

As insane as the newsroom is, we all have worked together and gotten a lot of laughs and memories out of this week.

Without the guidance provided to all of us by the professionals brought in to mentor us, and Cathrine and Zach, none of this would be possible.


Crunch time and loving it

Getting ready to edit on Final Cut Pro. Photo by Emily Palazzotto.

Right off the bat this morning, we were tasked with coming up with questions to ask at a press conference with Caroline Suozzi about the steps her father, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, and his campaign team are taking to put an end to gun violence.

At the press conference, each of us got to ask a few questions. Some then chose to write some stories about the press conference.

Rather than doing the extra story, I decided to start editing the footage my team got at the Ducks game on Final Cut Pro to to help us meet deadline. Now we’re about to eat lunch. After that, my team and I  are going to the iD Tech Camp, a Lego robotics programs, where we will cover our second story. My job is to take still photos, which I am excited to do because I still don’t have much experience with that.

Later on today, we are attending the Stony Brook Film Festival, which should also be a good time. It is crunch time to meet the set deadline, but as chaotic as it is, I still love each thing I am learning and doing at this program!

Inspired to start a school publication

The Greene Team’s story board. Photo by Emily Palazzotto. (July 20, 2018)

As the Greene experience comes to an end, I am so grateful for all that I have learned during my time here this week.

Not only did I learn more about journalism overall, but I learned all of the different career paths that I can go with it.

I am leaving here with such a deep love for journalism. Each second that I have been fortunate enough to take a seat in this elite program’s newsroom, I have done my very best to absorb every last word uttered to me peers, as well as professional and seasoned journalists.

This week gave me a true look into what college will be like and at first. I was a little nervous to be away from home for the first time, but the warm and friendly atmosphere among all of us in the newsroom all day and back at the dorm at night made being away much easier than I anticipated, though I obviously missed my family.

I am walking away from this experience with so many new friends with whom I share an interest, and I am so thankful for that. I am now much more confident in my work and I can truly see a possible future for me in this field.

I plan on attempting to get my school to start some sort of publication at Connetquot, whether online or print, this upcoming year.

I was so inspired this week by everyone in my presence to become a better journalist in any way that I could.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will be forever thankful for all of the opportunities that it has presented to me. I will never forget my time here with the Greene Team and all that I have learned.

One day, if I make it in the world of journalism, I will owe it all to everyone who has helped me get my start this week.

Laila Stevens: Looking at life through a lens

By Emily Palazzotto
Connetquot High School

When she was eleven, Laila Stevens received her first camera and knew photography would be a big part of her future.

“I love that you can create a whole new image, oftentimes one that we cannot see with our own eyes,” said Laila, who will be a senior at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens, this fall.

At school, the journalism and the media studies programs are a home away from home for Laila. Since her freshman year, she has been able to explore different aspects of journalism through a series of classes. For her senior year, Laila earned a spot on what she described as the highly esteemed and extremely selective yearbook committee, which will give her the opportunity to incorporate her photography skills into her school day more than ever before.

“I realized there were so many different things to do with just a camera,” said Laila, who was first published professionally in an online magazine at the age of 13. “So many angles, qualities and colors.”

She said she strives in her photography to incorporate messages of racial equality – another one of her passions.

“Although this goal of depicting racial equality is already out there in the world of photography, I feel Laila’s work will be exceptionally unique and moving because she began dabbling in photography at such a young age,” said Laila’s best friend, Laura Morel. “She has a God-given gift.”

Laila has sharpened her skills through gigs such as modeling shoots, and she often plans photo shoots with friends.

“I enjoy spending time with my friends because I believe that it is healthy and opens the mind,” she said. “I take a lot of walks, because it encourages activity without going to the gym. Music also plays a large role in my life. I love that it is an art form that speaks to so many different audiences.”

Laila’s older sister, Amirah, describes her sibling as being determined. “As long as she has been alive, no matter what, once she has made up her mind about accomplishing something, she does it,” Amirah said.

As for college, Laila said she expects to study photojournalism. She describes the Parsons School of Design as her “dream school” but said a State University of New York campus is also a tuition-free possibility because of her eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship.

Laila said she anticipates her week at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists will give her more insight into a professional career in photojournalism. “I hope that I am able to learn new techniques to make my photography more realistic for the professional world,” she said.

Production, Newsday and the Long Island Ducks!

The Stony Brook School of Journalism control room. Photo by Emily Palazzotto. (July 18, 2018)

A very eventful Day 4 here at the Greene Experience, and just when I doubt that I can become any more intrigued by journalism than I am, I become even more mesmerized by the amazing things that comes along with this career path.

Early this morning, after a speedy quick breakfast, we all made our way over to the broadcast studio, where we had the amazing opportunity to put together a newscast. I got to be the anchor and the weather girl. I also got to work in the control room to do some of the “behind-the-scenes” work. It was a little intimidating at first to get up and speak in front of the camera, but after a while, it felt more normal to me. It was so astonishing to me how much work was put into producing only a two- to three-minute newscast. But as chaotic it could be at times, it was a blast and we all got good laughs out of the experience.

At the end of the lesson, watching back the newscasts, both good and bad, showed how much we improved from newscast to newscast.

Later today, we are going to Newsday to see how a real newsroom works and all that goes into producing a newspaper. After that, we are going to Bethpage Ballpark to conduct field work for stories on the Long Island Ducks. My team chose to cover the All-Star Game jersey auction.

I am very excited to try to apply all of these skills that I have learned so far this week. I’ve learned so much about many aspects of journalism and have gained so many new friends that I know I will keep after this week concludes. I am loving every second of this whole process!

And it begins!

The Greene experience is underway, and it is going great! This morning so far has been filled with so many learning opportunities and I am loving every second of it -it definitely makes getting up at the crack of dawn worth it- I had the chance to make so many new friends last night, and it was awesome spending time with everyone today in “our element.” We ate breakfast together in the dining hall, and had the chance to read different newspapers to get more insight about not only what is happening in the world around us, but about all of the different ways to write and deliver news stories. I learned how to report, and the techniques to strengthen and enhance my reporting overall. Soon, I will be editing the profile I wrote with a former Newsday editor previous to coming to the Greene Institute. I am really getting a true feel of what it would be like to work in a newsroom one day, and it is so exciting to me. Later on today, we are taking a photo and video class, which I am so excited to participate in, being that those are two areas of journalism that I have yet to explore. I am anxious to explore all of the new aspects of journalism throughout the rest of my time here.

Exploring more photojournalism

Today, after news at breakfast, we started right in on photo day 2! Before I came here, I had no experience with photography in the slightest. While it is challenging to learn all of the different features that the camera has, and how to properly use all of them, it still proves to be a lot of fun. I am getting the hang of it the more time that I spend playing around with the camera and its settings. So far, we have explored photographing different patterns and how to make them look more interesting and we learned about the rule of thirds. I am enjoying every second of learning all of these new techniques, even thought at times, it can get confusing. John Williams, a photo editor at Newsday, is so helpful!! I’m ecstatic to learn even more about it the rest of the week.