Exploring all aspects of journalism

From today’s beginning pep talk with Kate Nalepinski to an exclusive interview with Congressional candidate Kara Hahn, with an hour-long photography session with Newsday photojournalist John Williams and extensive videography tips from Stony Brook’s own Rick Riccioppo in between, Day 2 has been a powerhouse lineup in all forms of multimedia journalism. I feel like in one day I’ve learned what I might have in a college semester, and I can’t wait to take these lessons and rules into the world during the rest of the week!

For me, writing’s always been “my thing,” to echo Nalepinski, and I feel as though I might have the bulk of reporting down, but I would never dream of calling myself tech savvy. Today’s lessons around shooting photos and videos to tell a story were so great to experience, and I feel sure that what I gained will be instrumental in the rest of my Greene Week as well as any journalism I choose to pursue in the future. What made today especially exciting was our brief but indispensable time with Kara Hahn, who detailed for us her life in politics, her motivating factors, as well as some insider knowledge about Suffolk County legislation!

Shayaan Tirmizi: The world is his classroom

By Oona Montandon
Millennium Brooklyn High School

How does one find success as a high school journalist without a school paper to write for, a school culture to write about, or even a physical high school? 

“It’s a little different,” said 15-year-old Shayaan Tirmizi, who has, along with his two brothers, been homeschooled since 2012.

In lieu of a traditional school paper, Shayaan took the initiative in April 2020 to start his own blog, initially focusing on tech, primarily Apple. His attention has shifted, so “now when I write, it’s whatever comes to mind,” he said. 

Shayaan is pleased to have joined the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. His mom regularly sends him links to programs he might be interested in, and the Greene Institute immediately sparked some interest. 

“So I emailed,” he explained, “asking about the due date and they wrote back saying, ‘Today is the last day to send in an application, send one in today!’”

Shayaan was excited to spend a week exploring journalism, especially using Clipchamp and getting a taste of broadcast work. 

Journalism is not Shayaan’s only area of interest, nor his only prospect. “If journalism doesn’t work out,” he said, “I’d move on to teaching.” Probably English, or something related to writing. 

                            Made with Clipchamp                                  

According to older brother Rayyan, Shayaan “was always a good writer and he always had a great imagination.” 

When he isn’t writing or doing schoolwork, Shayaan enjoys playing basketball at local courts. There he’s been able to meet many new people and made some good friends. “There’s a lot of assumptions” about homeschooling he said, particularly that homeschoolers don’t have a lot of friends. But given Shayaan’s commitment to outside activities, such preconceived notions do not apply. 

Shayaan believes the Greene Institute could be instrumental in his  future. He loosely plans on attending Stony Brook University, as his brother will soon, and hopes to study journalism there, especially if his week on the Greene Team is rewarding. 

When it comes to specific areas of journalism, as well as his broader future, Shayaan is “open for anything.”  

Interview after interview

Today started earlier and from the very beginning felt packed with action. We joined our first Zoom to hear broadcast experts Connie Conway and Marcy McGinnis run us through the filming process, as well as verify that our backdrops, lighting, and clothing were all as aesthetically pleasing and as consistent as possible. Then, in groups of three, we were called onto Skype to record our appearances on the Stony Brook News Broadcast! In the time between shooting we were encouraged to write our questions, I used my time to take notes for my team’s story.

Right after I finished filming my segment, with thunder roaring ominously outside, I frantically got ready to bring my Padcaster to the local animal shelter in order to shoot an interview and get some B-Roll. The B-Roll went well, but I ran into problem after problem whilst trying to conduct my interview, and eventually had to return home in the pouring rain, huddling my mic near me and getting totally drenched.

Luckily, I had a backup lined up and was still able to shoot a great and hugely informational interview. I’m a bit nervous about putting all of our footage and ideas together in the next couple days, but I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!