Rush hour, and inspiration

I definitely started to feel the pressure during day 5 and 6 because it was crunch time, near the deadline. I got a taste of what it’s like to live as a full-time journalist. It’s very tiring but I kept my head on tight and stayed optimistic. As an aspiring journalist I realized that organization roles and back-up plans are key.  The challenges I faced this week I never thought I’d experienced but it made me realize how much more I wanted to be a Journalist. 

We also got to hear the story of Yaw Bonsu and Sarah M. Kazadi, which were my two favorite stories. I loved how deep and genuine their love for journalism is and I appreciated their transparency. They let us know that we aren’t just granted opportunities, we have to be go-getters and find a way for ourselves. My biggest takeaway from Sarah was if you don’t have a way, then create one for yourself if you really want it. She also showed how you can tie in your passions with your journalism career. I appreciated her urge to give back to her community.

Yaw made me understand that it’s OK not knowing everything, just having the mindset of wanting to learn is the best. His quote that he knew he wasn’t the smartest in the room but he knew he can be the hardest working one, inspired me. When I first started Greene week, I can say that I felt worried because I was placed with many people who understood journalism, took journalism classes etc.  I knew they were far ahead while I didn’t know anything at all because I only journal for myself. With that being said, I felt like I didn’t have what it takes to be a true journalist and from me thinking like that I dimmed my own light. So Yaw and Sarah definitely were powerful intellectual speakers who taught me to have more confidence in this field or any field I choose in the future.

Now knowing what I know and knowing all I have to do is go out and study, work hard and create my path, I feel great. That’s a beautiful headline within itself and  I’m so grateful for all of the information I acquired in these few days. I didn’t know any of it before I stepped into this program and I’m happy that I started to understand certain terms, skills and techniques now rather than later. I hope to expand and experience different fields but what I learned here can, and will, be applied to my everyday life outside of journalism.

Dan Stark: seeing both sides

By Shian James-Harden
Gotham Professional Arts Academy

“Ain’t no time to hate, barely time to wait.” A quote from Jerry Garcia that Dan Stark of East Quogue lives by. To him, it means that “there’s too much anger in this world. There’s not enough time we have on this planet to be mad at one another.”

Dan, described by his friends as an outgoing and comfortable person to be around, has many passions that shaped who he is. 

His love and appreciation for music that began when he was 9 has helped him become a talented musician. As a rising senior at Westhampton Beach High School, he is an active member of his high school’s pit orchestra and jazz ensemble while also participating in a band called En Fuego. One of the best parts of being on stage, as Dan puts it, is getting to share his passion with the world. “I feel like my best self when I am performing on stage.” 

“I enjoyed the time when he was creating flyers for the Battle of the Bands,” Dan’s journalism teacher, Kristen Metts, said while discussing one of her favorite memories of him. “He designed flyers in Canva and had me print about 20 flyers. He and a classmate, Jake, went out to hang them in the school. He was back in a very short time asking for at least 20 more. His enthusiasm and excitement were memorable because it was the first big event for him post-COVID.” 

Dan’s passion for journalism stems mainly from his investment in unbiased views on real-world issues. He noted that he values “being able to look at both sides of an argument and debate and respect it. I’m inspired to write to do my part on giving the world unbiased, fact-based news.” 

This drove Dan to become his school paper’s editor, an experience that has helped him achieve his goals. “He quickly became my editor this year because he’s a fantastic writer and responsible,” Metts said. “He’s quirky in a good way — marches to his own beat and is respected by peers and school faculty.” 

Dan applied to the Stony Brook University journalism program and the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists. He hopes the experiences during “Greene Week” will help him on his desired path toward becoming a political journalist.

 He hopes to learn editing and broadcasting skills so he can create dynamic content focusing on political analysis. His prior work showcases his recognition of how important distributing unbiased news is, something he hopes to provide through a successful career as a political journalist.

 “Being in this program represents an incredible opportunity to sharpen my skills and increase my understanding of journalism,” Dan said.

Anchoring opened my eyes

Day 4:

Today was great. We created our very first newscast! It was extremely nerve wracking which interrupted my fluidity, but I did enjoy it. It was intriguing because I never thought about being an anchor. I’m more into the photography, film, and editing aspects of journalism. Doing this made me apply some of what Stephanie Brumsey and Kate Nalepinski were talking about which was to be versatile, be well-rounded, and to NEVER stick to one thing. 

This experience definitely shifted my perspective on what goes on behind the scenes of news. There were so many teams behind the anchors that we don’t see. I didn’t fully see the sense of fear that might occur until I was put into their shoes. My biggest takeaway from today was that I need to learn how to communicate and be myself in front of a camera.

My favorite part was watching the different newscasts. I loved how natural some people were and I definitely appreciated people who added in their little twists and went off script. It showed their personality, which made it more engaging to watch because it was no longer just a bland script. It was sort of a rendition; they made the script their own.

Taco Tuesday!

Day 3:

This was by far my favorite class (so far). First, we met with Long Island Herald Editor Kate Nalepinski, who taught me to be versatile and try different things no matter what I’m interested in, which I already do. But the fact that she explained the importance of having more than one skill made me want to explore more. She made me understand the importance of prior research and always watching the news and seeing the same story from different perspectives.

My favorite part was talking to Newsday photographer John Williams. I was so interested in everything that he experienced. He met Nelson Mandela and has seen the inside of a body — the heart and all. I loved the advice he gave us about lighting and that a good photographer takes control of their photos despite what the subject might say. I’m most interested in the film and picture career of journalism so everything he said lit me up inside. 

Then we talked to Stony Brook University Professor Rick Ricioppo, who gave information about capturing the moment including action and reactions. We also spoke about taking as many shots as possible to keep the audience engaged. As well as, writing for the ears and not the eyes so write very conversational and taking more film than needed so we can have more to edit with.

We also spoke with a county legislator which was very interesting especially because we got insight into her life and V.I.P. information. I loved today’s class but I kept getting hungry, so I kept eating.

Yes, I did have tacos for dinner.

I appreciated the amount of information that was acquired in such little time.

Speaking with MSNBC producer Stephanie Brumsey

Today we got to speak with MSNBC producer Stephanie Brumsey. I loved her energy and her vibrant personality. She taught me to get out of my comfort zone, take risks, be okay with rejection, and be comfortable with the uncomfortable. She also taught me that no matter who I may be talking to, never shy away from being myself. The reason being, people are more interested in my personality than my skills. Anyone can have those skills but not everyone can have my personality. I’ve learned so much from her and I had so many takeaways from just hearing her story.

Something that she said stuck with me: “Some people will tell you the world, if you allow them to.” When I heard that, my eyes instantly lit up. I felt deeply attached to that quote because of how quickly I could relate it back to my life and the conversations I’ve had with people.

I also asked her about her personal experiences with letting feelings get in the way of information she puts out. Through asking, I learned about the distinction between bias and point of view, which was interesting because it made me think of how people have to step out of who they are in order to deliver trustworthy news.