A lesson in German via foreign film

On day 4, the Greene Team ventured down the Staller steps to the theater to enjoy the Film Festival. The festival was something I always wanted to experience, but never had since I live on the East End. 

I chose not to read a preview summary of the film, but I had heard rumors it was in German. I want to clarify, I don’t speak a syllable German. But when the opening credits rolled I grew super excited. The film took place in East Germany in 1956, and as I read these words my inner history nerd went wild. 

I haven’t watched much foreign film, but I love experiencing different cultures and time period in such an authentic way. 

The Silent Revolution was based on a true story about a group of teenagers in East Germany, only 5 years before the Berlin Wall was constructed. The group begins sneaking away to listening to RIAS, a radio station from the West. 

In support of the Hungarian Revolution, the class votes to take a moment of silence during their history class. The small revolution leads to days of fear and frustration as the class grapples with the decision to tell the truth or hide behind a lie. The decision splits friends and lovers, as those who need their diploma to escape a life of poverty long to lie and others want to show support to the Hungarians. The film ended with the class being expelled and forced to move to West Germany to get their high school diploma.

I enjoyed the parallels in the film with the traditional teenage coming-of-age movie. There was the ecstatic dancing of “Ferris Bueller,” the angst and division of “The Breakfast Club” and the simple yet complex 1950s postwar life of “Rebel Without a Cause.” I related to a lot because of my age: Do you conform with your class or break away to create your own path? 

The experience was amazing and while I originally feared understanding the movie because of the language barrier, reading the subtitles became second nature. I enjoyed the experience so much because of my love of history and the amazing plot line. 

Ducks on the rise

On Wednesday, we went to the Ducks game. Before it, we had to do a lot of set up with the video cameras and tripods and make sure we had all of our equipment. There was a lot of chaos because some of us had to charge our cameras before leaving, and we also had to meet with our group to decide who would be doing what.

We didn’t go straight to the Ducks game. We went to Newsday and went on a tour of the facilities, including their own newsroom, before learning more about several jobs in the company and what they were. It was amazing to see the pictures of Robert Greene, who was so influential that his colleagues created this iInstitute in his name, at work, such as in poppy fields in Turkey.

The most interesting part to me was the newsroom, though. After getting so used to the size and feel of our newsroom back at Stony Brook, the sheer size of it amazed me. There were so many people working at once in a huge area. Also, I noticed the place was almost completely quiet, save for quiet conversation between the floor editor as she walked around between the mini-cubicles that had been set up on the tables. Not one person seemed to be listening to music or relaxing; each and every person had a job and they were putting their hardest effort into it. However, despite the intense atmosphere, everyone we saw seemed to have a friendly attitude towards their coworkers. On our tour, our guides were frequently greeted or greeted others whom they knew, That type of community really stuck with me.  After learning about several media- and communications-related jobs, as well as the value of internships, we were treated to Mister Softee’s ice cream by Newsday, which I am really thankful for. 

Then, we took another long ride to the game. During this ride I was listening to music with my friends. When everyone regrouped after leaving the bus, I had the camera, so I decided to take stills. Phoebe, Bella and Yaw operated the video camera. Along with Rachael, who is really amazing, we headed to the press box for a press conference with Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting Michael Polak. I took over 50 photos of the press conference and of the game. I was super excited to take these pictures. I got a chance to work on something I love so dearly. It was an amazing time seeing families ad kids having fun and cheering for their favorite player. This was my first Ducks game and I honestly had a great time.

Baseball player in action, hitting the ball.

(Photo By: Kiana Wright)

A Kona Ice employee working poses at his station.

(Photo By: Kiana Wright)

Kids having a fun time at the Ducks game.

(Photo By: Kiana Wright)

A hot mess, yet a productive day

Today was the busiest day thus far! My team and I had lots of reporting to do, which caused us to be constantly on duty due to the art events happening today. And if I’m honest, we were a hot mess.

As we arrived at the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery here on campus, I realized there was no SD card in the camera I was supposed to be shooting still photographs on. For anyone who knows photography, if you don’t have an SD card, you won’t be taking pictures. I felt my heart drop down farther than my stomach. How was I supposed to photograph professional pictures for a story I was working on with no functioning camera? Long story short, I ended up using the portrait mode effect on my iPhone and went back to the gallery later on that night to finish shooting with a functional camera.

“The View From Here: Contemporary Perspectives From Senegal” at the gallery.
Photo by Jaden Morello

After the gallery, my team and I headed to interview Alan Inkles, the director of the Stony Brook Film Festival, about his event, which happens annually. Inkles was such a kind man who expressed lots of jokes, which made it much easier for us to converse with him.

Team 4 and Alan Inkles after the interview.
Photo by Professor Wasim Ahmad

We spent the rest of the day editing to our hearts’ desire and preparing our stories for the website.

The whole Greene Team and I ended our night at the Film Festival. We watched two films, one short film and a full-length movie. My personal favorite was the short film titled “The Interview.” I loved the whole idea of the movie and how they wanted to represent not losing yourself. It was also surprising to see the leading actor afterwards on stage doing an interview.

Inside at the Stony Brook Film Festival during the short film “The Interview.”
Photo by Jaden Morello

Overall, today was super productive and truly a learning experience for my team and I. Everything is trial and error, and today helped me learn that.

Having fun with the Ducks

By Toni-Elena Gallo

I’m not going to lie. Even though I loved so much about the first two days of this program, the heat in the dorms combined with my fear of the impending Ducks story caused me a little bit of anxiety.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised that the Ducks game was a blast. Not only did our camerawork and interviews end up coming together nicely, but my group and I got to talk with some really polite, funny, and interesting people. We even had time to stop by a souvenir stand and buy a QuackerJack whistle.

All in all, despite the anxiety of impending deadlines, this week is shaping up to be a pretty amazing experience.

Hanging out with my new pals, Olivia and Zoe, while enjoying the Ducks game. Photo by Toni Gallo.

Maybe broadcasting is for me?

It’s Wednesday morning. The alarm starts buzzing at 6 a.m., preparing us for a long day of running around capturing film and interviewing. I comfort myself by remembering that I’ll finally be somewhere other than the newsroom, the dining hall and my dorm.

It’s 8 a.m. when we step into a cold broadcasting room and I’m amazed by all the equipment and the lighting. We’re introduced to the basics of reporting live, shooting and a behind-the-scenes view of the control room. I get the chance to be floor director, which I believe is where my interest is at now. I never considered being on a set but I learned my voice was made to boss people around, and I have found my place on the set.

I also got the chance to be behind the camera, which I enjoyed even though I’m more of a person to tell stories through words and not pictures. I think I found a potential career in broadcasting! 

Live on the set behind the camera. Photo by Zoe Gordon

The magic behind your local news, live in the control room.
Photo by Cielo Castaneda

A Brooklyn native cheering for the Ducks and not the Yankees

I’m from New York City, where everyone is either a Yankees or a Mets fan. So when I heard “Ducks,” I had no idea who they were. But let me tell you, the Ducks fans are the most supportive people of their local team.

It was a different vibe from a CitiField or Yankee Stadium game. The stadium was way smaller and gave a home-and-family atmosphere, which was something weird for me because people in New York City are really stuck-up people. The energy was amazing, from the fans to the workers. 

Bethpage Ballpark view.
Photo by Cielo Castaneda

I was able to step out and feel what it’s to like to go out and report on an event. I was behind the camera filming, which I was never comfortable doing, but I got through it.

Hopefully I can soon return for a Ducks game again with my family! Thank you, Ducks, for being so friendly and welcoming to a Brooklyn native. 

A Brooklyn native smiling for the Ducks.
Photo by Olivia Mintz

We’re on the beat

This is starting to feel really authentic. The pressure of deadlines and the business of a journalist’s working life were in full gear on Day 3. 

Today my group traveled to Stony Brook University Hospital to cover a children’s cooking class that uses produce from the rooftop farm. The farm was much larger than I expected, creating about 1,500 pounds of food for the class, feeding patients and donating to charity. 

Noami Yanw of Fios 1, jimmy McLoughlin of Fox 5, and Greene’s own Talasia Matthews set up their camera equipment for interviews. Photo by Julia Heming

At Stony Brook Heights Farm there was multiple other news crews, including Fios 1, Fox 5, Pix 11 and News 12. It was super interesting to be next to professional journalists and they taught us a lot as they maneuvered their large cameras and microphones throughout the farm.

Isabelle Friedberg gets excited to see reporters from News 12 while at the rooftop farm. Photo by Julia Heming

The experience was enjoyable, the kids we interviewed were cute and the mint leaves in the garden were delicious and fragrant. But the best part was being alongside professionals as we shot video and interviewed because of how helpful and kind they were.

After we finished covering the story, we went to Newsday. 

My grandmother is a Newsday editor for the business section and a lot of my young memories are of the famous photo wall and their newsroom. In about a month, Newsday is moving and it was a little melancholy walking through halls I remember so well and seeing photos missing and things removed. 

The lobby of Newsday’s building in Melville, NY. Photo by Julia Heming

I left Newsday with a heavy heart; it was a place I loved with wide eyes when I was younger, enjoying the bagel Fridays and my grandmother’s desk, but I didn’t appreciate it enough. During my days of Newsday adventures I was much younger and unexposed to the importance of news in the world. I’m thankful I got a final chance to go to this building to see the photographs and the newsroom one last time. 

Next, we ventured to Bethpage Ballpark for a Ducks game. As a Long Islander I love the Ducks and was happy to root for the home team. It was exciting being on the streets; the fans at the game didn’t know we were coming and the experience of asking for interviews was interesting. I shot photos and the amount of young children at the game made photography an enjoyable experience. I learned you’ll be hard pressed to find someone under 5 who isn’t photogenic. 

The day was busy. But I’ll admit, those days when you are so busy all you think about is the story, when you interview until you’ve spoken to at least a hundred people, when you’ve shot so many photos your eyes are sore and your fingers numb, when your feet ache from walking the beat over and over, are without a doubt my favorite kind of days. 

The Best Interview Ever

Thursday was one of the busiest days I’ve had all week. Since my team, consisting of myself, Alyssa, Lily, Cielo and Jaden, were assigned the arts roundup piece, we had to conduct several interviews and capture many pictures and videos to create our media package.

Our group had to interview the director of the Staller Center, Alan Inkles, which was a very fun experience. This was the first interview I’ve conducted all week so I wanted to make the best of it. As an editor in my school’s newspaper, I interview people often but, this was the best one I’ve done by far. With encouragement and a pep talk from Wasim, my group was able to appropriately rise to the occasion.

The reason that the interview with Alan Inkles was my favorite was because he was extremely open about his experiences in film and as a coordinator of the festival, which was very interesting. He had a lot to say and it didn’t even feel like a real interview. Everyone could contribute so it felt moreso like a casual conversation with a friend.

Team 4 (left to right: Olivia Mintz, Lily McInerney, Alan Inkles, Cielo Castaneda, Jaden Morello and Alyssa La Motta.) with Alan Inkles. Shot by Wasim Ahmad.

The Greene Team: A beginning

The first two days at the Greene Institute have already been an amazing experience. I came in sweating, but not just because of the heat. I was anxious about what was to come. Despite my enthusiasm and boundless excitement for the activities I had looked forward to for so long, I was nervous about whether I was up to the challenge.

When I finally got to see everybody once our families had gone, I could see who I was going to spend the week with. As we got to know each other both through a game and through a brainstorming session for story ideas, I could finally relax, as I could tell this was going to be a great team.

On the second day, our official start day in the newsroom, we started with a lesson in photography by award-winning photographer John Williams. We used Nikon D7100s (I believe) to practice adjusting our exposures, f-stops, and ISOs. My partner, Alex Weldon, and I both seemed to absorb the information quite quickly. Both of us got several good shots of each other on campus.

Alexandra Weldon. Photo by Grace Torgersen

Photo of me near the Charles B. Wang Center. Photo by Alex Weldon

Also on the second day, we had a wonderful video lesson from Rick Ricioppo. We learned the basics of recording for TV as well as the types of shots that we could take. Then, it was time to practice. We were split into teams of five, which would be our teams for the week both in video recording and writing. My team, which was called Team One, consisted of myself, Yaw Bonsu, Isabella Scuteri, Kiana Wright and Phoebe Lawson. After the video lesson, the day was done and we got to sleep.

(We were all happy about that.)

So far my time at the Greene Institute has been amazing. I am continually inspired by the people around me, and I feel that I have learned a number of different skills in the few days that I have been here. I’m looking forward to the days to come!

Nothing can heal stress as much as a good movie

Even though we have been working during all of the days of  the camp, Thursday was the most exhausting and stressful day. I felt tension in the whole newsroom; everyone was  working and trying make good time. I have been on deadline lots of times but at this time it was much serious because we were responsible for the actual website production.

My group and I have gotten along pretty easily. But the process of working together on the stories brought us closer. I’ve never enjoyed group work because I am used to doing everything in my way, even if it’s a mistake.  Despite my relationship with group work, I still enjoyed co-writing with Russell. Our ideas were different, but together they made more sense than separately. That’s why we wrote a very decent article even though it took many hours of writing and editing.

After finishing lots of work we were able to visit the Stony Brook Film Festival. We saw two marvelous movies, “The Interview” and “Silent Revolution.” “Silent Revolution” was emotionally close to me because my mother was one of the activists during protests against the Soviet Union in 1991. The protests led to independence of Georgia in the same year. However, my grandfather was a dedicated Communist and that’s why I made a connection between one of the main characters, Kurt, and his father’s relationship.

My group and I went back to the dorm while discussing the movies. Afterwards we were discussing how destroying the Soviet Union turned out for the countries that were in it, some by their will and some by being forced.

The ticket for the Stony Brook Film Festival.
Photo by Maya Ratner

Behind the scenes

July 24, Day Three — We kicked off the day heading off to the TV and broadcast studio here on campus, and words can’t describe how fun it was.

When I was chosen to head to the TV studio to practice as a weather man, my anxiety flew through the roof. I thought I would slip up or forget my lines, but it ended up being such an enjoyable experience. I also was able to practice using the camera, film the show and control the audio in the control room. I didn’t realize how much work it takes to produce television.

The Greene Team and I headed to Newsday after that. It seemed to be a very spacious place full of determined journalists, and I could really see myself working there in the near future. Afterward, my team and I reported to the Ducks game and worked on our story. We met lots of friendly families to interview and made lots of heartwarming memories with each other.

Front desk at the lobby at Newsday.
Photo by Jaden Morello

This was my favorite day of the week. It made me more interested in this journalism field, and participating in broadcast news. I now have a newfound respect for the people who work behind the scenes and in front of the camera on television.

Behind the scenes at Newsday
Photo by Jaden Morello

A whirlwind fourth day

I had barely noticed how much time had passed until I clocked in my 12th hour of writing. Everything was a whirlwind. The night before, Julia Heming and I prepared for the day of work ahead.

Starting at an early 8:30 a.m., we were ready to tackle the mound of work ahead of us. Articles, videos, photos and editing all seemed daunting tasks that could never possibly be completed in such a short period of time. I took a seat at the desk, oblivious to the fact that I would not be moving for the next 12 hours.

The first hours went by fast. My head was spinning. We began our first print news story. Typing as fast as we could, we managed to finish the first draft of our rooftop garden story. The next two hours were filled with intense editing and analyzing.

Finally, we were finished with our first story. We then headed to a conference with the head diversity officer of Stony Brook University, who had some interesting things to say. I busied myself at the conference by taking shots of the key speaker. We then returned to the newsroom, where I began to sort through my new photos.

As I was absentmindedly sorting through pictures and listening to music, I heard the words “perfect article” followed by a series of claps. I removed my headphones and asked Julia what was going on. “We wrote a perfect article,” she said. “The editors barely needed to touch it.” We were both ecstatic and very proud of our piece.

After all the editing and photo sorting, I checked the time. It was already 8:30 p.m. I was surprised that so much time had passed. We then headed to the Stony Brook Film Festival, where we watched a German feature film. Overall, the day consisted of hard work and fun.

Jarvis Watson, chief diversity officer at Stony Brook University.
Photo by Isabelle Castaño Friedberg

Using Our Skills (Days 3 and 4 on the Greene Team)

By Grace Torgersen

Life with the Greene Team moves forward. On Days 3 and 4, Tuesday and Wednesday, we learned more about the basics of shooting stills and video cameras.

On Tuesday, we did portraits of our partners in several locations. Alex and I visited several nature-filled areas, such as the small tree grove near the physics and math buildings and the Frey Center, as well as the fountain in front of the Charles B. Wang Center for our shots. Although Alex’s shots came out amazing, I had some trouble with my exposure. I was disappointed, but I know I will never not check my exposure after that!

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, we discussed the division of labor for each of our stories. We had two assignments; one was to cover the Ducks Game on Wednesday evening, while the other was to cover the construction of a new turf facility for indoor sports practice.

A player runs across the field at the July 24th, 2019 Ducks Game at Bethpage Ballpark. (Photo by Grace Torgersen)

I enjoyed the Ducks game more than I thought I would when I first heard about it. Not being much of a sports fan, and being mildly uncomfortable in large crowds, I thought that I would spend the night trying to focus on the assignment and keep distracted from the game. However, even when we first arrived, I could feel the excited energy of everyone in the stadium. Even throughout the assignment, as we desperately searched for a passerby willing to talk, the environment felt alive with joy and laughter from fans and families. I spent the evening sharing a camera to get stills of the game, the crowd, the fans, and of course the new ball-calling technology that we were reporting on. The evening certainly felt like a break from the newsroom, and I enjoyed putting everything we had learned about still and video camera shoots and about interviewing to work in the real world.

The sky turns beautiful shades of pink as the sun sets over the Bethpage Ballpark. (Photo by Grace Torgersen)

With these experiences, I am so looking forward to my next days on the Greene Team. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish.

The clock is ticking at the Greene Gazette

It is as if I closed my eyes for a split second and it is already Thursday. All I can say is that it is most definitely crunch time here in the newsroom. All I hear is the distant chit chat of everyone trying to get their articles completed, videos filmed and projects completed before the deadline is up.

As much as the current environment in the newsroom is a bit stressful, I can truly say I don’t want the week here at Stony Brook University to come to an end. I don’t even want to think about having to say farewell to the friends I have made over the past couple of days. We still have the rest of today as well as tomorrow and Saturday morning, so it isn’t quite time for goodbyes just yet!

Yesterday was a busy but extremely fun and exciting day between visiting Newsday headquarters to going to the Ducks game and reporting the 20th anniversary of the Ducks. I really loved reporting and interviewing the fans and have come to discover I really want to be a reporter.

Isabella Scuteri and I looking at images we captured. Photo by Lily McInerney

I currently have a small (sort of small) load of work left to complete still, including editing my team’s Ducks video and finishing writing my article. Until next time.

Down In the Dirt With A Camera and QuackerJacks

Your Humble Reporter Showing Off Their Official Press Pass [Photo by Alexandra Weldon]

The days of having down time are now gone. As Cathrine Duffy has said many times today, “We’re on deadline!”

Thursday night was a big day for gathering footage for my team’s coverage of the Ducks game against the New Britain Bees. From first entering the stadium, the Greene Team immediately made a beeline for the door labeled “Press Room; Authorized Only.” We had our own press passes, therefore, we were authorized. So official, right?

Greene Team members (from left to right) Jaden Morello, Alyssa La Motta, Russel Stern, Yaw Bonsu and Sofia Seda interviewing Duck’s Director of Media and Broadcasting, Michael Polak [Photo by Alexandra Weldon]

My group’s angle on the Ducks story was to show how the employees of the stadium not only contribute to the experience everyone has at the ballpark, but how they’re able to enjoy their time there as well.

Because the employees (as well as the Greene Team members) were told there could not be any interviews of the staff, we ended up interviewing people around us who were either walking around or sitting in the stands. I’m not used to approaching people unless it’s to ask something practical, like for directions or the time. So, I was definitely pulled a bit out of my comfort zone.

The overall filming and interviewing took maybe around an hour and a half. By that time, most groups had also finished getting footage, minus one group that was being worked liked dogs by their adviser (I’m sure they got great material though).

Fried Oreos From the Ballpark, Presented To You By Your Daily Food Blogger [Photo By Alexandra Weldon]

Around 8-ish, each person was given 15 Duck Bills (which were equivalent to 15 real dollars) and given liberty to get any food from the ballpark. I used eight of those bills to get a chicken sandwich, and the remaining seven to get Fried Oreos — the latter specifically because I’d never had them before and was told by some that I “had to.” Needless to say, I am now a fan of fried Oreos.

The last time I was at a Ducks game, which was maybe around two years ago, I remember the stadium being very empty, the day sweltering hot, and the overall experience not fun. This time around, I was smiling and having a great time. Busy, but smiling.

Photo Picking Process

When you have over 200 pictures to go through on a deadline, it might be just a bit stressful.

Being the photographer for an upcoming article is a lot of hard work. During the interviews we had to do, I was told to take many pictures so I would have a lot to choose from. I might have gone overboard with this as I had taken 273 and I needed to pick about 10.

I went through each and every one, deleting those that were blurry and then again to delete those that were repetitive. The next time I went through I tagged the ones I believed were good enough to be the select few. I even made made myself a code, warmer color tags were more likely to be selected than cooler color tags.

After tagging them, I looked back at the final pictures, and noticed that I still had too many. So I went through those one final time and ended up with around 25 pictures.

I still have a lot to do such as editing them and running them by our team manager, but I know I can say I’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.

photo taken by Sophia Seda

Ducky Days Inspired by Dad

I had never been to a Ducks game before, so when the Greene Team headed over to Bethpage Ballpark, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Even though I’ve always lived so close, it wasn’t even a thought to go.

My father has been watching baseball long before even I was born, and he even took my family to a Yankees game when I was young. Of course at age five, I was more interested in eating the food more than the actual game itself.

Since then, I have become a sports reporter in my school newspaper. I knew the first person I had to go to before my first interview was my father… well, Google, then my father. He then gave me a crash course on the sports he knew and anytime there was a game on the TV, I would sit by him and ask questions while I watched. I still don’t know everything, but I do know enough to enjoy the game.

While interviewing fans at the Ducks game, I realized how some people had such a huge passion for the sport. From season ticket holders to first time visitors, everyone was having a great time. And soon, so was I. Watching the game, and hanging out with my new friends was such a memorable experience. I even met QuackerJack, the mascot!

Quacker Jack and I
photo taken by Sophia Seda

Overall, because of the knowledge my father gave me, it was a great experience and I definitely plan on returning.

A Daunting Duck Day

Though the day started off jam-packed with exciting trips and adventures, it went by so quickly.

After a quick breakfast we all headed to Newsday to get an authentic feel of a journalist’s office space. From the Pulitzer Prize award wall and the pristine condition of old photographs, it’s no wonder I was completely starstruck today.

The photographs at Newsday featured moments from as early as the 1940’s. One of the most fascinating photographs I saw was a moment captured in the 1950’s. A police officer was standing beside a woman dressed in a pair of black shorts, holding a tape measure to the side of her legs. Underneath the photo, a caption explained that it was a regular occurrence that women were stopped on the street to have their shorts/skirts measured to fit an appropriate dress code. It is so fascinating that part of the journalist’s experience is capturing historically significant moments at any moment.

Our trip to the Ducks game successfully pushed me outside of my comfort one, despite my hesitancy at first. Working with my team, I was responsible for approaching random parents and children to interview throughout the stadium.

For a normally quiet and shy person, I quickly adapted to the peppy atmosphere of the stadium. Though small talk is not a strong suit of mine, I learned in the moment how to make people feel more at ease while on camera with a microphone held to their face. By the end of the day I became more comfortable talking to people of all ages and personalities.

As the week is slowly coming to an end, I’m starting to feel the pressure of all the work piling up by the hour. Though I am faced with a large work load on top of my regular school work, I’m grateful to realize what areas I am starting to excel at in terms of writing and photography.

This week has really opened my eyes in more way than one, as my identity as a writer continues to be altered and advanced.

Day 2: One picture is worth one thousand words

The clock struck 6:30 a.m. before Yaw and I knew it. Let’s just say we weren’t thrilled to hear the repetitive beeping sound of our alarms. But, we knew we had a long day of work ahead of us and had to get ready. We got out of bed, groggy and tired, hitting the showers right away.

At 8:00 a.m., we all entered the newsroom, where we were greeted by Professor John Williams. Williams introduced himself and told us he had been working in the field of journalism for 40 years, doing everything he could to perfect his skills in photography. In 1997, he and his other team members at Newsday won a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigous Journalism award. I was grateful that someone as qualified as him was taking the time to teach us essential camera skills.

Williams thoroughly taught us various properties necessary toward understanding how a camera works, such as ISO, Shutter Speed, and Apeture. ISO affects the light sensitivity of a camera, Shutter Speed affects the time a camera records an image for, and Apeture affects the speed of the lens while recording an image. I had no idea there were so many elements involved in taking a photo, and when we went outside to take the photos ourselves, it was a great experience.

Yaw and I arrived back at our room at 9:00 p.m., exhausted from the sweltering heat. We turned our fans on and fell asleep soon later.

Reporting for the first time and taking portrait shots

I have survived! Are you surprised? Going into today, I have high expectations. I just feel it’s incredible to be taught different skill sets by experienced people who work in this business. It’s truly an honor. John Williams taught us how to tackle portraits and headshots during this session of photography. Everyone seemed to enjoy posing in front of the camera during shooting. It was made clear today that we have a lot of photogenic people on the Greene Team this year. Model status!

Portrait of Jaden Morello
Shot by Olivia Mintz

My selected team and I were finally assigned our three-part story about the arts at Stony Brook for this website. We were the first team to have to go and start reporting today at the Jazz performance which is performed here on campus every Tuesday. My team and I experienced a lot of nerve-racking emotions, due to the fact that this was some of our first time showcasing our skills at a public event. Nevertheless, it went well and we got some great footage of the band and the people who attended. 

It was a jam-packed day full of lots of new opportunity and creativity. I really appreciated getting to know the rest of the Greene Team to a further extent, as well as going out and reporting for our story for the first time.

Day Two With More Pictures

From the photo lessons I’ve been taking for the past few days I’ve realized how much I enjoy it. I especially like taking pictures of nature and portraits because they provide natural aesthetics. You can even combine the two to make an impressive and pleasing composition. In school, I’ve wanted to delve deeper into photography to learn techniques to take interesting photos but it’s never on my schedule. It’s so cool that I’m learning how to use a camera over the summer in a beautiful environment like Stony Brook.

I have a camera at home which is a Canon Powershot sx60 hs, but the Nikon D7200 that we use for our lessons is so much different than my home camera. It’s mostly because of the different buttons and controls but I feel like the Nikon camera is easier to use and produces higher quality photos. And considering that I continued using a Canon on auto mode, using a Nikon, which is a more expensive camera, in manual mode is an achievement.

A day in the life of the Greene Team

As I wander through Stony Brook’s nature-filled campus, I search for a feeling to describe this place. My result-oriented self reminds me I came here to become a better journalist. Dark shadows of doubt still hover over my mind.

How exactly does one become a better journalist? Can you feel the transformation as it happens?

So much has happened in the first 24 hours that it would be impossible to chronicle everything accurately. The following is my attempt to capture the sentiment.

The first day is a restless one, filled with refreshed anticipation and summer swelter. Nighttime brings with it searing temperatures into the 90’s. Few are lucky enough to have had a rejuvenating amount of sleep, and most wake up in the morning groggy and bleary-eyed. I belong to the latter crowd, having caught about 4 hours of shut-eye.

Alexandra Weldon, the girl I researched for the Profile Assignment, texts me at 6:42 AM. “How was your sleep last night?”

I reply something along the lines of, “Terrible, I slept at 2:30. How was your sleep last night?”

Alex responds, “5 hours or so. Some of the girls got no sleep at all, though.”

I drag myself to the bathroom, hastily fumbling over my toothbrush as I drag a comb through my hair. Yaw, the boy who dorms next door, enters and greets me with a less than cheery “good morning.” “Guowud mwuornin,” I reply, my toothbrush still jammed in my mouth.

Yaw’s family is from Ghana. His name is pronounced ‘yeow’ and literally translates to “Thursday,” the day of the week he was born.

As the boys corral ourselves out of O’Neill Dormitory, we run into stringent TAs whose job is to immediately interrogate us if we exit out of the wrong door.

Breakfast at East Side Dining Hall is accompanied by copies of New York Post, Newsday, and Daily News. The boys arrive approximately 15 minutes earlier than the girls. We eat our food and sit in silence, broken only by the occasional small talk. The sleepless night has taken its toll on us.

Cathrine Duffy, one of our supervisors, joins us. “This is probably the most relaxing moment you’ll have all week!” she said.

After breakfast, the Greene Team heads to the newsroom, where we learn how to shoot professional-looking photos. Mr. John Conrad Williams teaches us the basics of camera usage, like ISO, shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, exposure, yada yada yada. I won’t bore you with all the technicalities.

The teaching is interspersed with chances to go outside and practice our newfound techniques. Combining every little element is way harder than I expected.

Journalism, the most fine of all the arts. (Photo by me)

In the evening, we learn about shooting video with Prof. Rick Ricioppo. His left ear is adorned with a tiny earring that brilliantly reflects the soft overhead studio lights.

By now, most of us are fighting to stay awake, but we forge onward. We are assigned into groups and told to practice various shots. Prof. Ricioppo ties the lesson together with his mantra: “…capture the moment.” Doing what great journalists do.

In our groups, I lack the energy and social skills to form complete sentences. Talking to people is tiring when sleep-deprived.

Everyone’s sort of doing their own thing—capturing their own moments. Despite our differences, we’re all here for the same reason. The experience of discovering a story, whether it be personal or professional, usually isn’t what you expect it to be. That’s the magic of journalism.

First 24 hours of being a Greene Team member

Day 1 of being a part of the Greene Team was exciting and felt weird at the same time. I say this because I was excited to do new things and meet new people, but it felt weird because it was my first time being away from my family. When I first walked into the residence hall yesterday, I immediately felt like a college student checking in for housing. After settling in and meeting the rest of the Greene Team, I started feeling more comfortable being 40 miles away from home.

Day 1 at Greene

My first day at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists was an information-picked blur of activity. Shortly after the parents left, we gathered in the Irving Hall lounge to play a few icebreakers and begin to discuss news topics or ideas that we were interested in covering during our time at Greene. The variety of suggestions from my fellow journalists-in-training told me that the institute was filled with many curious and determined people. Almost every news suggestion was expanded upon by other classmates, and excitement for the week ahead was high.

The hot and humid weather that night tried its best to dampen that excitement, but only managed to strengthen the bond between classmates (and indirectly put a rather large dent in Stony Brook’s coffee supply).

The start of day two came early for most campers, myself included, and as we waited to be escorted to breakfast we talked about the day ahead. After a filling breakfast over some of the day’s papers, we made our way over to the media lab in the Library. Once there, we met Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor J. Conrad Williams Jr., who introduced himself as a news photographer. We learned a lot about how to operate DSLR cameras. I used a Nikon D7200, and it’s probably one of the coolest cameras that I’ve ever worked with. After the lesson was over, we paired off and roamed around the campus taking pictures to practice working with the cameras. My partner had a really good eye for setting and composition, and she was a ton of fun to work with!

Dinner was largely uneventful, aside from the discovery of pesto pasta hidden away in a corner of the dining area. After dinner, we returned yet again to the media lab to receive a lesson in videography from Professor Rick Ricioppo. We learned about filming techniques and different types of video shots, and then went out into the hallway with our assigned teams to practice shooting film.

It was a long and trying day, but I had a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week will bring.

Day Two

By Toni Gallo

I am having a great day. My second lesson with John Williams has been so much fun!

All the techniques we have been reviewing with him are making for such beautiful photographs. I am developing a passion I never would have otherwise. I love that I am able to learn about the art of photography from such a kind and accomplished man.

I can’t wait to capture some great moments and make some more memories!

Me posing by a fence. Photo Credit Isabella Friedberg

First day on the Greene Team: a blast

Okay it has been 24 hours since I have arrived at Stony Brook. Honestly, my time here so far has been going very well. I have connected with different types of people. When I arrived on Sunday I was super nervous about this whole thing. But after settling down I met some amazing people here. It made me realize how diverse and talented we all are in our own way. This morning, we had breakfast while reading over the newspaper. Today we also learned to use a Nikon camera and all the basic functions a camera. It was pretty exciting and a great learning moment for me. I learned the ins and outs for capturing beautiful images. Afterwards Cathrine helped us brainstorm stories to write about. This was really beneficial to me. It made all of us open up our minds and think of creative things to discuss. Next, Zack taught us how to have an interesting story title for our writings. He went over some articles with us and even shared his own, which I thought was pretty cool. I learned so much in one day and I am glad that I get to be a part of such an amazing team. Today was a blast.

(Photo by Kiana Wright)
(Photo by Candace Morgan)

Second Day at the Greene Summer Institute at Stony Brook

Compared to my first night in the dorms, last night was a more comfortable sleep. With being so well rested I was eager to start the day by reading the newspapers lent to us.

Prior to coming to the Stony Brook campus, I saw reading newspapers as a benign pastime that was inefficient and boring.

However, I’ve come to realize that reading the newspaper has made me more aware of my surroundings on a daily basis. I find it so interesting that various topics can be so well-detailed and intriguing.

On my second day at Stony Brook, I set a goal for myself to improve my camera- operating skills. Professor John Williams inspired me to work even harder as he spoke one on one to me about the importance and meaning of photography and print text combined. This once in a lifetime conversation has inspired me to dig deeper into the journalism field and find out what I want to do later in college

In more exciting news, my group and I were thrown into a real- life journalism experience by interviewing audience members at Jazz Night.

Landing on our feet very quickly, my group and I quickly learned how to approach complete strangers, film a professional band, and manage a professional presence.

I can’t wait to interview more people at the Ducks game tomorrow with my team.

A jam-packed first day

By Jaden Morello

July 22nd: Monday- Officially Day One!

The alarm goes off at 6:45 am and suddenly I feel as if I’m back in school again. I definitely was not prepared for the early mornings, considering I’ve been sleeping in every day this past month.

The Greene Team and I headed to our first official lesson: Introduction to Still Photography taught by the Pulitzer Prize Winning Photo Editor John Williams. It was such a great opportunity to learn new photo techniques and be able to shoot photographs with and of my fellow peers. This was my favorite part of the day because of how fun it was! The weather was beautiful and everyone seemed to enjoy using the professional cameras and their massive lenses.

Isabella Cuteri and I viewing photographs on the camera.
Shot by Isabelle Friedberg.

We also attended a workshop taught by professor Rick Ricioppo from this school. I was able to learn how to record footage on a video camera, proper interview techniques, and meet with my assigned team for the first time for the week.

Overall, this felt like a jam packed first day that helped me improve some of my journalism skills. I was very grateful to make new friends, get to know the rest of the Greene Team, and be taught lessons by the best of the best. I feel very eager for what’s to come the rest of the week, as well as be able to soak up new learning techniques.

Isabelle Friedberg and I during photography class.
Photo by Isabella Scuteri.

Day One complete! Here’s to Day Two!

Already off to great things

Being a teen mom, I haven’t been this sleepless since my son was a newborn. My room felt like an oven and I was restless the whole night. Bright and early the next morning we had “News Over Breakfast,” which was something oddly new to me. I’m used to watching the news on TV instead of reading about it. That was followed by a lesson on still photography. Who ever knew there was more to taking photographs than just a click of a button? Now I know that the lighting, ISO and shutter speed matters when taking a picture. I can tell you my photography skills are better now — I’m a bonafide expert. Thanks for the tips and tricks, John Conrad Williams! We’re off to great things already. 

Taking in a little sun after not sleeping all night. (Photo by Olivia Abbruzzese)

Fun First Day, Fun First Night

My first day here was one like I’ve never experienced. I was very surprised to befriend pretty much everyone on the Greene Team! Compared to today, Sunday was a short day and we had a lot of free time. Instead of staying in my room all night with the few people I already knew, Lily, Julia and Olivia, I decided to walk around with them to become familiar with the residence hall. It ended up being that the four of us explored the hall with many other girls in the group and sparked instant friendships from there.

After we looked around the residence hall, the eight girls in our group decided to hang out in the lounge area where we found a few others. We all acquainted ourselves and hung out there until it was time to leave. From there, we decided to stay in my room until bed check since it had many fans cooling off the room and a ton of snacks. We all shared stories and learned more about each other. Everyone was having an amazing time and I felt relieved knowing that all of the girls enjoyed each other’s company.

Today however, was the first time I really understood how to use a camera. I learned about exposure and the components ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Even though this is one aspect of using a camera, I feel like my skills are becoming better already! It was very fun roaming the Stony Brook campus and finding opportunities to take amazing photos of your friends. Everyone even hyped each other up about this entire process which increased a sense of camaraderie among the entire group.

I’m glad that this all happened because I am now familiar with most of the Greene Team and know that this week will surely be the best one this year!

A challenge or a way to open up?

I was scared, insecure and self conscious as always. As a person who has very low self esteem and is socially awkward, I knew what risk I was taking, but I wasn’t ready for it.  The stress of making a first impression was compounded by the humidity. The hot air was sticking on my skin and slightly burning it.

The heat was the issue in the dorm rooms as well. But sometimes issues like this can become the reason why humans create bonds. This is how the whole female population of the Greene Team squeezed into one room because it was comparably cooler than the rest. I met people of different backgrounds and none of us felt left out.

To be honest it was first time in my life seeing so many people being able to listen and respect each other. We were in this together and we already felt like family. Most of us couldn’t fall asleep because of the heat and people who knew each other for few hours were already morally supporting  and helping with advice.  

 The all nigher did, however, affect the way I was feeling during the morning. My eyes were pushing down and my whole body was begging me to sleep. But I pushed myself to stay awake and participate in class activities and listen to the lecture. We learned about photography basics that I have never heard of. It was a pretty important moment of my life.

Of course I was insecure because I didn’t have any experience with photography. The group photo shoot session made me forget about what a perfectionist person I am and how badly I love to punish my self if I don’t do something perfectly. I just enjoyed the process and sunny weather with my new friends. It made me much more free and much more open.

I have to admit that it is very hard for me to give up this terrible habit. Moments like this are very rare in my life so it makes this all the more special. The fact that I was more free than I am used to being didn’t make my pictures terrible. Some of them are pretty good and I am proud of myself because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I am so happy that I didn’t blame myself that I messed up one more time.

Up all night with the Greene Team. (Photo by Maya Ratner)

Bringing it back to the classroom

It’s Day Two at Greene and I’m getting excited to bring back all I’ve learned to my school newspaper, The Paw Print, for my senior year.

I’m feeling motivated to start school newspaper off on the right foot with all my new knowledge.

Today, my team is going to cover a jazz performance — step one in adding to our multi-media package for the week. We are all nervous as many of us have never used a tripod before.

Although my high school doesn’t cover our news broadcast style, I’m hoping to carry with me the skill.

The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists is all about learning on your feet and taking new knowledge with wherever you go next.

Day 2 at Greene

My second day at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists has been a lot of fun! Rested and refreshed from a good night’s sleep, my classmates and I made our way through the downpour to news over breakfast, and then to the media lab.

We began our lessons that day with Professor John Williams. We discussed shutter speeds and capturing movement in photos. We then broke into pairs and went around the building playing with shutter speeds on our cameras. This time around I used a Nikon D7500, which I actually liked more than the D7200 from yesterday (some buttons were in different places, and they were more comfortable for me to use). Afterwards, we returned to the classroom and discussed methods of shooting portraits of people. By the end of the discussion the rain had cleared, so we went outside with our partners and took photos of each other, putting to use all the skills we learned thus far. I had a ton of fun playing around with the camera settings and testing out portrait ideas!

We were supposed to have a press conference after lunch, but there was a scheduling conflict so we took time to meet with our groups and discuss the news stories we’re covering later this week. My group is doing a story on Stony Brook’s iCreate, which seems to be the equivalent of a Maker Space. We’re also doing a story on the Ducks baseball team’s 20th anniversary.

Day 2 at Greene has been long, but I’m having a lot of fun, and I’ve even made some friends! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week has in store!

Fast friends found at Greene

When I first stepped out of the car and onto the campus of Stony Brook University, I didn’t know what to expect from the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. I was about to meet new students and professors, learn new material and study new concepts. It was going to be a challenging yet intriguing experience for me, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous.

However, within the first hour, I already felt more comfortable and acquainted. I met my outgoing roommate, Yaw, who shared a lot of the same interests and hobbies with me, such as playing sports. We quickly struck up a conversation about our experience in the field of journalism, and how excited we were for the program to start. It was nice making a new friend.

Later, Yaw and I, as well as the other members of The Greene Team, gathered in the residence hall. We began discussing story ideas that we could potentially cover, including articles about student debt, immigration, and gentrification. Everyone was sharing their ideas, and everyone’s voice was being heard. For my first day as a part of such a prestigious program, I was expecting to be stressed, but the day ended up being both a rewarding social and learning experience for me.

After we discussed story ideas, Yaw and I enjoyed scrumptious pizza and went back to our room. We talked from the minute we were at the bottom of the stairs to the minute we arrived at the door. I was surprised that in a mere few hours, I had bonded with someone so well. We eventually fell asleep, ready to face what the next day would present us with.

Part 1 of Day 1 on the Greene Team

This is Day One of being a member of the Greene Team. This morning, I was nervous but excited. I was excited and ready to sleep in the dorm and experience the college life, and nervous about whether I was going to make new friends. Settling in the dorm and sleeping there made me feel like a college student already. I actually talked and got comfortable with most of the Greene Team and realized I’m going to be fine. We brainstormed ideas on subjects we’ll do during the week. The ideas were great and interesting. I’m excited to see what the rest of the week will teach me 

Finding the interesting in the ordinary with words and pictures

With the arrival of new faces and ideas the first few hours of the Journalism program was fast-paced and exciting.

Immediately following the departure of parents and family, we were faced with multiple prompts that tested our creativity levels in terms of news stories and current events. The group exercise made it abundantly clear to me that the group of individuals were full of creative thoughts and curious inquries.

Throughout the night, despite the brutally hot weather, the uncomfortable temperature seemed to bond the group of girls in many ways.

At first, the photography portion of the media class was a challenge for me, as my creative ability lies within the literary spectrum of journalism. And my inexperience with advanced photography at first made me wary and skeptical.

The author at work learning the basics of camera usage. Photo by Isabella Roccanova.

The mechanics and basic parts of the camera were tricky for me to operate and difficult to distinguish a clear difference within two separate photos. Though my performance with the camera is a new challenge to overcome, I’ve come to realize that I have a very strong perception of imagery.

Despite my inexperience with camera equipment, I’ve shown a strong capability of spotting picturesque scenes and moments in an otherwise plain setting. I was lucky enough to have a partner who was highly familiarized with camera operations, as she brought many of my ideas to life within her own camera.

For the next few days, I hope to hone in on my camera skills while focusing on applying newfound techniques to my future writing, such as spotting intriguing aspects of everyday moments.

Amanda and the Greene Team: Day 2

Another day with Greene Team. How do I describe the second day? It was pretty good — but also a little long. It all started with the photography workshop. We learned how to use professional cameras. We learned when’s the best time to use proper lighting. When it comes to photo’s, lighting is a very significant factor. I’ve never actually worked with a camera before and I’m highly inexperienced but the photos I took didn’t turn out too be so bad. I took a lot of great pictures of my friends and they loved it a lot. I really do appreciate this class. It was nice to get a head start on my camera skills because I’m considering joining the yearbook club in 11th grade.

After photography class was the video shooting class. The class was actually pretty interesting. The professor gave us a lot of examples on news reports shown on news broadcasts. He demonstrated how we should try to keep viewers engaged in a news report and to report more than just the facts. He advises that we widen the story more with more details.

After a long but influential day, it was nice to enjoy the dorm with my roommate, Candace. Thank goodness the room was cooler!

Exploring photography with the Greene Team

Walking in the door on the first day of the Greene program I was quite nervous. This is my first leap into really experiencing life as a journalist.

To be honest, I was a little worried about making new friends during this process, but to my surprise I instantly clicked with all the members of the Greene Team. We spent the first night of this week in my across-the-hallmates Julia and Olivia’s room, all getting to know each other and sharing endless laughs. I can already predict that these friends I have made will be lifelong friends.

Making lifelong friends at the Greene Institute.
Making lifelong friends at the Greene Institute.

Monday was the first day of activities and I already feel I have learned so much just in one day. I’m stoked to learn how to work and adjust a camera. Also, it was great to bond with my team members and take photos. I hope to learn more about photography and take more photos in the future.

I can’t wait to see what excitement the rest of this week holds for me along with my new friends.

Learning about ledes at the Greene Institute

Sunday was a day of getting accustomed to dorm life and pushing past the awkward greetings.

Monday at the Greene Institute was quite literally a breath of fresh air, as temperatures cooled down the Greene Team buckled down as well.

After the breakfast (which included fruit, granola and anything else you could possibly imagine) was scarfed down by 25 teenagers, we got straight down to business.

The first two hours included a tutorial on how to use a camera which involved taking pictures of friends and learning the basics.

Later during the day I got to work on my feature and learn how to edit my work. This was definitely a valuable lesson and I think the main thing I would take away from the process is to make my stories short and to the point.

Finally, we had a discussion on what makes a story good. The lede in a story is definitely one of the most important aspects and the Greene Team dissected exemplar ledes and crafted our own.

I’m certainly glad that the heat wave is behind us, leaving space for new friends and journalistic endeavors.

A picture perfect start

In only a short 24 hours, so much has happened and I already love this program and the people.

At first, going into Irving Hall, I was met with anxiety and heat. That quickly all went away when I entered the very air conditioned student lounge and got to talking with the rest of the students enrolled in the Greene Institute. That initial fear was gone when I learned how amazing the group of girls here are. There are only four boys but they are all great as well.

The first day we didn’t really do much besides organize what articles we wanted to produce this week and get to know each other. I am very glad for that because it gave me the chance to become comfortable with the people around me, to get to talk and really bond. Most of the girls, including myself, were all in one dorm room until lights out.

Sleeping was hot but not that bad since I had my fan blowing right on me the entire night, probably just like every other person in the building.

Going into the next day, we started our first real activity: photography. After learning all about the basics of exposure, we were supposed to pair up. We ended up instead all taking pictures of each other that came out great. If that’s the first activity I can’t wait for the rest.

My lens captured Sophia Seda during our photo lesson. Photo by Mia D’Alessandro

The 24 hours exceeded all expectations and I just hope that the next 24 hours and the rest after that are just as exceptional.

Go ahead, make my day

When our instructors Cathrine and Zack said the days were long, I thought they were not serious. But turns out they were 100 percent correct about long days at the Greene Institute. Besides the fact that I was tired most of the day, I still pushed my way through. Learning how to take video, take photos and the basics of journalistic writing really made my day. I’m looking forward to doing more in the next few days.

Soaking up Stony Brook’s campus during our photo lesson. Photo by Candace Morgan.

Refreshed and ready

It’s the second day here at Stony Brook University and I woke up this morning feeling refreshed from having a good nights sleep (finally!) and ready to start the day.

We continued to practice photography and I developed a new found confidence when it came to actually working the camera. I have never in my life ventured into the world of photography, and over the past 2 days I have discovered I have a real interest in it which I was not expecting to have.

Practicing my photography skills. Photo credit: Lily McInerney

The rest of the day was spent toiling away in the Newsroom (which will be our home for the week). There is much activity as we work on profiles and gather information along with our team members for the Ducks game and our group projects.

I’m feeling just a little stressed but not too stressed — just the good type of stress from being extra busy.

Speaking of busy, I have to continue to revise my profile so bye until my next blog.

New friends, new stories

The Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalist has officially begun. Among what has already been many long hours of lectures and hands-on experience with new technology and equipment. The institute has already provided the framework for what it means to be a true journalist.

Prior to meeting with my fellow Greene Team members, the first thing to address was where everyone would be sleeping. I was assigned a dorm on the ground floor of O’Neill Hall. After settling my bags and belongings down (in what is a rather comfortable space), I came across who would be my roommate for the duration of the program, Russell Stern.

All of my journalism experience revolves around my love and passion for sports. Therefore, as soon as I noticed the Jets T-shirt in Russell’s suitcase, I knew we’d get along just fine. Soon after check-in, when the parents departed the campus, Russell and I managed to go on and on about the latest stories surrounding our favorite sports. Whether it be the struggles of the New York Giants or the overhype of the Liverpool Football Club, we both recognized the high knowledge each of us have of sports. In addition to that, it was relieving to interact with a male who shared a common interest, especially since the male-female ratio in this year’s program is 20:4.

Now that the getting to know each other portion and introductions concluded, it was time to shift into being true journalists. Our first activity as a team was brainstorming story ideas that will take place on the Stony Brook University campus. Knowing my experience and background in the world of journalism, all of my proposed stories revolved around sports on campus. This included a story detailing whether or not student-athletes should be compensated for playing their respective sports.

Although this story was one I was looking to cover, program coordinators Cathrine Duffy and Zachary Dowdy had story proposals as well. Among that set, one that immediately caught my eye was a story surrounding the new indoor turf facility being built on campus. Cathrine allowed us to express our opinions on each topic and I made sure to make it very clear that the indoor turf facility was something I wanted to cover. Among other stories that were pitched by other members of the Greene Team were everything from a “critique on criticism” in the arts to ways to prevent goose poop from wreaking havoc campus. We concluded the day by getting to know each other more while eating pizza. Although it was a bit overwhelming, that was the calmest day we should be expected to have.

End of the Night Shenanigans

At the end of the past few days, Hall C in Irving College has been a blast. A few of the girls gather in a room before bed to just talk, play games or simply hang out. Though most of us have just met, it seems like we’ve known each other forever.

Particularly last night, some of us girls got together to play games on Phoebe Lawson’s computer. We were having so much fun getting to know each other, making a lot of inside jokes together that we almost didn’t hear the Resident Assistant knocking at the door for bedtime.

Olivia Abbruzzese, Isabelle Castaño Friedberg, Toni-Elena Gallo, Julia Heming, Phoebe Lawson, Lily McInerney, Olivia Mintz, Sophia Seda, and Isabella Scuteri at a pajama hang out. Picture taken by Sophia Seda.

At the beginning of the program, I was beyond nervous to make new friends. I constantly said to myself, “what if they don’t like me,” or “what if I don’t make any friends.” I am so lucky to have met these girls, they are just so kind and funny. I can honestly say that it’s like having a never ending sleepover. Sure, sleep is so out of reach, but I’d trade no sleep any day for just another night with these girls. They are truly amazing.

Confidence from photos

This morning, I again found myself outside taking photos of a friend. Despite my excitement about the freedom of photography, I wondered what I could learn from another photo session.

The Greene Team ventured out to the Stony Brook campus paired in small groups, and I found myself partnered with Maya Ratner. Maya and I explored with the same group of friends yesterday, and I remembered her reluctance to star in photographs. Still, I was first to pick up my camera. At my suggestion, she sat on one bench in a row of many, comfortable and relaxed. Her ease showed in pictures. As we continued to different locations, I realized that she was an excellent model — she never looked stiff and always worked with me so I could capture exactly what I wanted. By the time we moved on, I knew I captured beautiful pictures of her.

I’ve been uncomfortable in photos for years now, and every time someone offers to take some of me I decline. In group photos, I often shuffle out of frame — when I can’t, I try to hide behind the group. In most photos taken of me, I’m uncomfortable, and it shows. Looking at my stiff awkwardness in pictures discourages me from being in photos at all, although I don’t lack confidence. But when Maya began taking photos of me today, I felt comfortable. I didn’t overthink, and Maya’s creativity helped me focus on the fun of photographic independence.

We walked back to the classroom after some time, and I showed Maya the photos I took. Her reaction was uplifting; she saw how good she looked in them and lit up. I remembered how just yesterday, Maya was reluctant to be in photographs, but today, she was happy to see herself in them. I realized then the power of photographs on confidence.

On a classroom computer, Maya and I scrolled through the pictures she took of me, and I was impressed. Whether I was standing between trees or in the middle of three walls, Maya took creative photos and she was able to wordlessly encourage me.

This morning’s in-class lesson revolved around photographic composition. Around the Stony Brook campus, students had the freedom to take portrait photos of their friends. Beyond the surface, though, I learned how photographs can uplift the subject. I’m hoping that in the future, I’ll keep this in mind and honor the model.

Learning how photojournalism brings stories to life

If you happen to find yourself scrolling through this website, you will notice the many teens filled with creativity all working on one project or another. They all seem fascinated, determined and focused on their work. So what is the day-to-day experience at the Greene Gazette?

Well, I can’t tell you much, as it is still my first day here. However, I can tell you this: So far I have learned and had the opportunity to experience so much more than I expected.

At the start, I was nervous, but excited. Being surrounded by unfamiliar faces is daunting to say the least. However, after the orientation, everybody began introducing themselves, making jokes and discussing how excited they were about the program. I was relieved to find that everybody was so kind and as interested in journalism as I am. So my newfound friends and I eagerly awaited for the first day to begin.


After having chatted away at breakfast, the Greene Team and I headed to our first journalism class. Pulitzer Prize-winner John Williams awaited us in the Stony Brook University School of Journalism newsroom ready to teach us our first lesson. Williams specializes in photojournalism, which is personally an area of journalism which I love. He taught us all about the different camera settings, such as which exposure levels to use, how fast or slow the shutter speed should be, depending on the subject matter, and how to get the best angles.

He also taught us about the importance and power of photojournalism and how diverse the journalistic field can be. From what I learned, photojournalism is more than a picture to accompany a news article. Photojournalism is a way to bring a story to life by conveying a message or telling a story and it gives the reader a visual outlet into a world outside their own.

Overall, the day was incredibly fun and I found everything Williams taught us to be extremely interesting. My friends and I had the opportunity to be creative and experiment with the new techniques we learned. I was able to take many photos that I feel proud of and now I can call myself an amateur photojournalist.

Portrait of Isabella Scuteri at the Greene Gazette program at Stony Brook University.
Photo by Isabelle Castaño Friedberg.
Portrait of Jaden Morello at the Green Gazette Program at Stony Brook University.
Photo by Isabelle Castaño Friedberg

Overcoming overthinking was easy after the first day

How do I begin to express what a wonderful first day I had with the Greene Team? The night before I worried and stressed about a lot of things: Would the material be too challenging? Am I prepared for all the new things I’ll learn? Will I be able to fit in with the other students?

But that’s a thing about myself that I should work on: I overthink. When I arrived on Sunday, I was nervous, but I reminded myself that I should be extremely proud and honored that of all the applicants from Long Island, Brooklyn, and Queens that I, Amanda Mitchell was one of the 25 students chosen to be involved in this program. It means that the Greene Team faculty sees something special in me.

It turns out that I really was overthinking too much on Sunday afternoon. The first day really wasn’t that bad. As a matter of fact, it was great. A few weeks prior to attending the program, I was keeping in contact with my super-friendly profile partner, Alyssa and it was so great to finally see her in person after weeks of texting. Also, I managed to fit in just fine. I made friends with Candace, Talasia, and Kiana and I just know that we’re all going to have a great time together. Zack and Cathrine sat with all the students and we did some critical thinking and brainstorming for stories will cover. I was exposed to a lot of great ideas and I was surprised with the discussion and commentary from the other students. It is truly amazing to be surrounded by so many diligent students and I hope we can all work together and learn from each other as well.

After a dedicated session with such skillful high school journalists and helpful mentors, it was very nice to unwind and relax. The Greene Team enjoyed food and the company of their peers. I personally, enjoyed my delicious pizza, the company of my new friends, a soothing cold shower and most of all, an influential session with Zack and Cathrine.

Fast friends, fun experiences in only 24 hours at Greene

It’s been 24 hours since our parents dropped us off here at Stony Brook University, an experience so far is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Monday has been amazing, and as my brain scrambles to write ledes and take photos, my heart is happy that I’ve found such good friends here.

I was undoubtedly nervous to be staying in an unknown place for a week, with people I barely knew and yet in less than 24 hours this has become my home away from home. The friends I’ve made are amazing, while they live everywhere from Long Island to Westchester to Florida, we are close in ways I’ve always hoped to be with friends.

The girls all crammed together in my room for a few hours of laughter before lights out. Photo by Julia Heming

We spent Monday morning shooting photos of our friends, giggling as we ran around campus and snapped cute and sometimes quirky shots of our newfound friends. The lessons helped my knowledge and understanding of how a camera functions. I learned how to get the best quality pictures as we adjusted aperture, ISO and shutter speed to accommodate the lighting, background and movement of our subjects.

This is me taking pictures while sitting one of Stony Brook University’s stunning fountains. Photo by Olivia Mintz.

I hope Tuesday will bring the same fun and joy that today brought, with more lessons, more assignments and more fun for our ever-growing friendships.

From bad to best, all because of breakfast

Monday at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School journalists began just as the previous day had ended for me: With no sleep. It was hard being away from home and on one of the hottest nights in the month too.

When it was finally time for breakfast, I was so pleasantly surprised with all the wonderful options they had for us there. And everything was made fresh, too. It really brought up my mood and gave me a positive outlook for the rest of the day. 

Our introduction to professional picture taking began soon after. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John Williams came in to teach the first lesson. He began by explaining what we would be doing by drawing diagrams on the board. He drew dashes and fractions which in the beginning, didn’t make any sense to me all the while continuously asking how many stops it takes to get to a perfect picture.

It as very stressful at first, but once I had the camera in my hand, everything really came together. I realized that all the confusion was just to make it easier on us when we actually had the technology. After, we went on to have photo shoots with our friends and the pictures came out so surprisingly clear and beautiful. I was so impressed with everything we learned and I was proud of my new friends and I for figuring things out together to truly create something beautiful. 

The author during the first day of photography at the Greene Institute. Photo by Phoebe Lawson.

Achievement unlocked: Forever friends made

Making new friends and meeting new people was my main goal coming into this program and after one night, I could say my goal was achieved. I got acquainted with the girls in my residence hall and made instant connections with them. Even though it has only been one day, we are already planning beach days and trips to Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton together.

Whenever there is free time, you can find us chatting about school, our personal lives or just random things to get to know each other better. This is funny because during check-in we stayed with our parents or had them close by for comfort, but after they left we all became social butterflies and would not stop making conversation.

At night, whether it is moving all of the couches from the lounge into a circle so we can all see see each other, or all cramming into one dorm room until the exact hour of 11 p.m. (our curfew) we are having fun together and becoming closer friends.

Spending time taking photos of each other Monday was fun and gave us a different experience than being in the residence halls. After only 24 hours, we talk like we have been together at Stony Brook University forever.

A rewarding first day at Greene

I began the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists on Monday. It’s a seven-day, residential program at Stony Brook University. Despite the unbearable heat, this experience has been very rewarding so far.

My new friend Zoe Gordon and I applying some photography techniques, taught to us by Newsday Photojournalist John Williams. Photo by Jaden Morello

It has been such a unique experience for me thus far, living away from home. I have never done anything like this before, and it is definitely pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Getting to know the fellow participants has been so much fun. All the students are eager to try new things and help each other along the way.

It has been amazing working with Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John Williams. I have learned numerous techniques to enhance my photos, such as how to change the exposure and f-stops to create professional photos. These are valuable tools I would not have otherwise learned. This is what is making this experience so incredibly one of a kind.

I very much am looking forward to the rest of what this program has to offer. I can’t wait to actually participate in a news conference, and report on the Long Island Ducks on Wednesday. All these great educational opportunities, coupled with the friends I am making along the way, is serving as an insight into the fun and adventure the rest of this week will surely bring.

Capturing the moment

The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute class of 2019 were all outside in the heat with cameras, learning how to apply the photography lesson of the day about exposure, focus, shutter speed and more. But to us, it felt more like dabbling in amateur modeling.

Sophia Seda strikes a pose. Photo by Mia D’Allesandro.

I’ve worked with video and photography for years, independently and in my high school elective classes. So when we had the opportunity to venture outside and experiment with the cameras, I was thrilled. On campus, my peers were ready to be in pictures, sitting on the edge of great fountains or posing with their faces between the branches and leaves of trees. There were endless scenes to capture- that was what excited me.

The Greene Team in action. Photo by Mia D’Allesandro.

Many times, I was engulfed in a small crowd of photographers like me, all capturing the same students. It felt more like paparazzi surrounding celebrities than students photographing their friends; it was clear that my classmates were as enthusiastic about the project as I was. It was a special experience, to feel free to photograph my friends after they struck their poses and capture real moments of laughter and friendship.

Julia Heming during our lesson. Photo by Mia D’Allesandro.

Back in the classroom, looking over the photographs, I saw flaws. The exposure may no have been correct, the subject wasn’t always in focus, sometimes the shutter speed was too slow. But I also found assets in the way I didn’t just take photographs of my classmates posing against the campus background. I captured their moments, caught off-guard, when their true personalities shone through. Despite imperfections, those were the best photos by far. And it was a valuable lesson on the first day of class.

Welcome Greene Team 2019!

Welcome to the home of the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists!

Our tenth year is off to a great start, with students from high schools on Long Island and New York City. They were accepted into the program because they all have already produced great work for their schools in the spirit of pioneering Newsday investigative reporter and editor Robert W. Greene, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a founding faculty member of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism.

Photo by Wasim Ahmad.

Meet the 2019 Greene Team:

Olivia Abbruzzese — Patchogue Medford HS
Yaw Bonsu – Baldwin HS
Cielo Castaneda — Edward R. Murrow HS
Isabelle Castaño Friedberg — The Chapin School
Mia D’Alessandro — Huntington HS
Toni-Elena Gallo — Connetquot HS
Julia Heming — Hampton Bays HS
Alyssa La Motta — Baldwin HS
Phoebe Lawson — Patchogue Medford HS
Talasia Matthews — Roosevelt HS
Lily McInerney — Irvington HS
Olivia Mintz — Half Hollow Hills West HS
Amanda Mitchell — Elmont Memorial HS
Jaden Morello — Bayshore HS
Candace Morgan — Roosevelt HS
Maya Ratner — Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders
Isabella Roccanova — Holy Trinity HS
Isabella Scuteri — Patchogue Medford HS
Sophia Seda — Brentwood HS
Russell Stern — Millennium HS
Grace Torgersen — Comsewogue HS
David Wang — Great Neck South HS
Alexandra Weldon — Earl L. Vandermuelen HS
Kiana Wright — Digital Arts and Cinema Technology HS

Each Greene Team member in Summer 2019 will work in the School of Journalism Newsroom on breaking news stories that will require them to perform key journalistic tasks on all media platforms including writing news stories, taking photographs, producing, shooting and editing video, conducting an interview, addressing a newsmaker at a press conference, posting text and images to a blog or website and covering a speech. Each student will also work in Stony Brook’s television news studio operating a teleprompter, appearing live in front of a camera at the anchor’s desk or reporting live as an on-air television correspondent.

By the end of our weeklong workshop, each participant will work in a team on various multimedia assignments that will be posted here. Students will be blogging throughout the program also.

We invite you to explore the site to see the fine work the students produce!

–  Zack and Cathrine