Elon University chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
sponsored a day-long workshop in November for the students who work
at the newly founded newspaper at Cummings High School in Burlington.
Six Elon SPJ
students, Lindsay Porter, Colin Donohue, Steve Earley, Matt Belanger,
Ellis Harman and Brittiny Dunlap, reached out in advance to Cummings
English teacher Jody Rowan, the adviser for the student newspaper,
to find out what the students would like to discuss. Donohue worked
with Lee Barnes, the executive editor of the Burlington Times-News
to arrange to stage the workshop at the offices of the local daily
with Cummings officials to bring 10 students to the workshop. Barnes
led a tour of the Times-News to begin the day, showing students
the pressroom and other production facilities, the business office,
the advertising department and the newsroom, introducing the friendly
professionals who work in these areas along the way and asking them
to share information with the students.
at the Times-News donated their lunchroom for use as meeting space
for the SPJ event. Frances Woody of the Times-News spread out a
breakfast buffet of Paul's doughnuts and assorted juices for the
students to enjoy, and Brent Lancaster, Nate DeGraff and Peter Schumacher
of the Times-News staff talked about why they enjoy their work as
journalists at a daily newspaper.
get to do something different every day," said Schumacher,
the Times-News' chief photographer, who has also worked for the
Associated Press and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "And
I enjoy the fact that I get to meet new people all the time."
a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. "I like to write and I like to talk to people,"
he said."If you're inquisitive, this is a great field to be
in. No two days are the same. It can be wacky and strange, and it's
he'll never tire of working at a daily newspaper. "Reporting
is a glamour job, like being a fireman or a policeman," he
said. "We do important stuff here. We tell your parents how
much they're going to pay in taxes, that water bills are going up.
No one else out there is performing this service."
Elon SPJ students
spent the next three hours discussing various newspaper basics,
including writing leads, interviewing, coming up with story ideas,
covering a community, layout and organization of a newspaper, headline
writing, grammar and style. The student reporters and editors from
the Cummings Cavalier Times were engaged in the process, writing
headlines, sharing ideas and asking questions.
adviser Rowan said she hopes Cummings administrators will arrange
to move the newspaper from an after-school group into a regularly
scheduled class. Many other high school newspapers in the Alamance-Burlington
School System operate their student journalism programs in this
The workshop was staged by SPJ with financial support from Project
Pericles, an organization centered on helping the people of universities
to foster community engagement to "instill in students an abiding
and active sense of social responsibility and civic concern."