By Shayaan Tirmizi
Oona Montandon has been interested in journalism since kindergarten, when she wrote a profile on a school security guard and liked the experience.
In first grade, she wrote for her school newspaper. And in 2012, Oona wrote a few articles for a youth paper called Firecracker.
Oona, now 17, of Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn, is a rising senior at Millennium Brooklyn High School where she can pursue her passion for writing and journalism.
“As of right now, I’m just really enjoying getting to know and better understand journalism,” she said, “but I think my favorite thing about it is probably getting to hear from so many different people, and putting new perspectives into the world.”
Oona’s journalism experience has impacted her 15-year-old sister Daphne.
“The way Oona used writing to tell her stories inspired me to also become a storyteller,” Daphne said. “However, I don’t think it would be through writing, but instead film.”
Oona’s parents, Catherine and Maccabee, are also journalists. Catherine writes for GrowNYC and Maccabee is a freelance editor. Both parents have given Oona advice on how to be a successful journalist.
“My dad is a big believer in ‘don’t do things you hate,’ so although he wouldn’t encourage quitting, I’ve learned from him that you don’t have to be miserable with what you do, and the best work you’ll produce is when you’re doing things you enjoy.”
Oona said she imagined being an investigative journalist, but she is also intrigued by the idea of becoming a music critic.
In her free time, Oona likes to write poetry, hang out with friends and play soccer. She also has a part-time job as a restaurant hostess.
“Living in Brooklyn and living off the subway has given me so much more freedom than I’d imagine I’d have living outside the city. I feel so lucky to be able to go on my own or with friends to new places every day.”
When it comes to life after high school, Oona said, “I’ve always fantasized about going to Europe for college, someplace like Trinity [College Dublin] because I have Irish citizenship.” She’d also love to go to Claremont College, “or someplace on the East Coast, maybe Stony Brook! I’m still figuring it out for sure.”
If journalism doesn’t work out, Oona is interested in studying linguistics.
Oona wanted to attend the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists because “I wanted to learn more about journalism and this seemed like a great crash course.”
Oona said she intends to leave a lasting impact on the field. “I definitely want to reimagine the ethical considerations of journalism. In a social media world, real journalism can be used to dispel misinformation and even save lives. I think navigating ‘the truth’ in the upcoming years is going to be really important, and a discussion I’d like to be a part of.”