Day 5 – Finished strong at Greene!!

Last day at Greene! It’s scary how fast the week went by. All I can say is this was a great program and I loved every second of it. We started the day off with a pep talk from a former Greene student, Yaw Bonsu, who gave us tips on making own opportunities and self-enterprising. We then had time to talk with our teams to start to finish up the projects. Speaking of which, I’m excited to finally get them up on the website and see what my classmates have been up to! A talk from Stony Brook University’s Associate Dean of Admissions Robert Pertusati followed. He spoke about searching for college and the application process. Although I’m only going into Sophomore year, it was definitely insightful. The last talk of the day was from members of the Press Club of Long Island, some of which mentored us. The rest of the day was spent finishing up the assignments. I completed my video on the opioid crisis. Overall, I’m going to miss this program but I’m excited to apply what I have learned to my school’s newspaper! I can’t wait to meet everybody in person and see the newsroom tomorrow!

Jada Jackson and the joy of writing

By Michelle Paszek
Kellenberg Memorial High School

Jada Yahda Jackson’s writing adventure started young. 

The 17-year-old Georgia native, who moved to the Queensbridge Houses development in Queens at age two and is now a rising senior at the High School for Community Leadership in Jamaica, Queens, discovered a gift for writing in elementary school. They wrote a paragraph recap whenever they went to see a film, which their stepmother read. This was what first got them into writing.

“Writing has always been therapeutic for me,” Jada said. 

While Jada continued to write, it wasn’t until recently that they went public with their work.

Jada’s mother, Tywanda Taylor, recounted that “recently, they wrote about their feelings and fears. They use their writing to express themself, as well as their style.” These are mainly for Jada only. However, they posted their feelings about Juneteenth on Medium.

They recently started the column “Jada’s Corner” on their school website, in which they write about COVID-19 and its impact. They also post work on Medium and Instagram and take part in the New York Rat Pack Podcast to give their viewpoint on current events.

“They’ve always asked questions and paid attention to the news,” Taylor noted. “They have a lot of opinions about what’s going on in the world. If something happens in the world they write and tell me about it.”

Their first work, posted to Instagram in May 2020, was on the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19.

“It felt scary at first,” Jada said. “Even in school assignments, I tend to get very personal. Yet when people read it and reposted it, I felt over the moon.”

Jada wishes to pursue a career as a political journalist and activist. In addition, they would like to be a freelance travel writer.

Their biggest journalism inspiration is Angela Davis, the writer and activist. “I want to write so the people most affected can understand and help create change,” Jada said. “I believe that journalism should be about getting the truth out and being accessible to everyone.”

In their free time, they listen to music, watch horror and Marvel films, and practice perfecting their goth makeup and roller skate. “It helps me feel free and nothing can touch me while I’m in a roller rink,” Jada explained. They also spend their weekends going to protests and marches.

Jada took the opportunity to attend the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists “because I wanted to truly pursue journalism before I go into college. I want to major in journalism. I feel like if I truly want to do something, why wait? And I saw this opportunity to prove to myself that I’m serious about doing this for a living. I truly look forward to the program and put my skills to the test. While in this program, I hope to meet people that have similar interests to mine and learn what being a journalist will truly be like.”

Fun, fascinating, and fantastic day 4!

Proud to be Part of the Greene Team!!

Day 4 at Greene! It’s going by a lot quicker than I’d like to admit but I’m loving every second of it! My team leader, Chrissy Sampson started off the day with a talk on F.O.I.L. (Freedom of Information Law), F.O.I.A. (Freedom of Information Act), or the Sunshine Law. This allows people to gain access to public records, which is incredibly helpful for journalists. We had a game of trying to figure out what is counted as a public record and what isn’t.

We went into team breakouts before Professor Ricioppo gave us video editing tips. I can’t wait to use them for my team’s video! We then had a talk about social media from Wasim Ahmad, who shared how important it is to have social media and to stay consistent with the names on different mediums. I learned that we can use social media to crowdsource people since they may have access to things others don’t. Professor Altiere then made sure everyone was in the clipchamp team, which we will be using to make the video stories. Sarah M. Kazadi, a Stony Brook graduate who currently works as an ESPN journalist, came on Zoom to share her very inspirational story of how she made her own luck and created her own opportunities in her life.

At the end of the day, my team met once again to discuss progress. I was able to finish a draft of the script for the video along with a general layout. I’m excited to finally put the video together and edit it tomorrow!

Three, two, one, action! Day 3 at Greene

Third day at the Greene team! We started off with using Skype to run through a broadcast script as if we were actually on the air. This was led by professors Phil Altiere, Connie Conway, and Marcy McGinnis. My role was Anchor 2 and I had so much fun doing it! It was intriguing to see how much work went on off camera and get a glimpse into how actual news reporters and anchors do their jobs. One of my favorite parts was watching the final edited version of everybody’s broadcasts over Zoom together.

The rest of the day was for the teams to work on their assignments. My team set up an interview with Steve Chassman, the executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, to talk about the opioid epidemic. It was interesting to see his thoughts on the topic and you couldn’t miss how much he cared about the people that have been already affected by addiction as well as those that haven’t been affected but still can be. Overall, I’m looking forward to what’s in store for tomorrow!

Here I am just before the broadcast!

Greene Team day 2: Dos, don’ts, and Democrats

It’s my second day at the Greene Team!

Former Greene student Kate Nalepinski, an editor at the Long Island Herald, started the day off with tips about journalism that she wished she knew going into the field. Professional Newsday photographer John Williams then shared tips about taking photos using an iPhone, mainly focusing on lighting and background. Professor Rick Ricioppo followed with basic rules for shooting video, starting off with the mantra of wide, medium, tight, super tight, action, reaction, and capture the moment, all of these different types of shots used in video stories. He went into the dos and don’ts of shooting video and shared a tip to use string to keep phone cameras steady when without a tripod. I can’t wait to try it out later!

We had a break for lunch before Professor Ricioppo continued with tips for interviewing and writing broadcast scripts, it boiling down to keeping things simple enough to be understood but still able to capture the listener’s attention. My favorite part of the day was during the press conference with Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. She shared her life experiences and her motivations for solving the opioid crisis as well as her other motivations for running for Congress. I really look up to her and I’m excited to work on the story about her with my team.

At the end of the day, my team met to discuss our assignment and decided to do a piece on Kara Hahn battling the Opioid crisis with LICADD and a piece on Kara Hahn and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming both running for the Democratic nomination for Congress. I can’t wait!

The big itinerary

Today was my first day at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists! The day started off with a talk from Stephanie Brumsey, a former Stony Brook student who went into journalism. She gave us journalistic advice whilst sharing her experiences and answering our questions.

We then learned about ledes and how to structure writing pieces, using the example of “Red Riding Hood” to try and make possible ledes. We had a half-hour break for lunch before continuing on to assembling the Padcaster we had received in the mail. During this, we met the founder of Padcaster, Josh Apter, who helped with any problems that came up.

We had a break before meeting with our teams that we will be working with on an assignment topic. My team will cover Kara Hahn and Bridget Fleming, who are both running for Congress as well as voting during the pandemic. I’m so excited!!