Emerging Journalists Program hosts Immersion experience with high school students from across the country

The on-campus residential learning workshop, made possible through $300,000 in grant funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation, supports high school juniors interested in pursuing careers in journalism and the media industry.

Elon University and the School of Communications will welcome 18 high school students from across the country on Monday, June 20, to kick off the Emerging Journalists Program’s inaugural Immersion experience. The 2022 Immersion cohort boasts students hailing from 13 states, including California, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin.

“In reading the students’ bios and seeing their work, I think it’s safe to say that they are going to be change makers in the field of communications,” said Kelly Furnas, journalism lecturer at Elon, who oversees the program’s curriculum. “They are coming into the program with a wide array of experiences, and I think that really bodes well for the stories they are going to tell.”

During the 10-day, expenses-paid workshop, students will develop and enhance their skills in reporting, writing, multimedia storytelling, leadership and media management. Beyond instruction, the students will collaborate as members of a working newsroom, producing professional web content, a newspaper and a television news broadcast, as well as tracking audience engagement metrics.

The Immersion experience also features several off-campus activities. The students’ schedule includes media tours of G&S Business Communications in Raleigh and WXII 12 News in Winston-Salem. They will meet with state legislators and members of the press corps at the North Carolina State Capitol, and visit the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro.

“One of the most exciting aspects of these types of workshops is not just the instructor-to-student education that occurs, but the peer-to-peer education that the students receive from one another,” Furnas said. “We were really deliberate in designing this program that students would be able to share their personal experiences. I always learn so much from students when they are given the opportunity to create their own discoveries.”

Students will earn one hour of college credit for completing the Immersion experience, and students who choose to pursue a communications major will receive a modest scholarship from The LAGRANT Foundation. EJP graduates will also be paired with two mentors – an Elon student and a communications professional – who will offer guidance and assistance as students work on their own projects back home.

The School of Communications established the Emerging Journalists Program at Elon last year through a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation. Elon was one of two universities selected by the foundation to receive the grant following a competitive application process.

During the grant’s application and interview process, the School of Communications partnered with The LAGRANT Foundation, North Carolina Local News Workshop and Elon Academy to showcase the resources, opportunities and network that ultimately shaped the Emerging Journalists Program. The program is designed to educate high school students from diverse socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers in journalism and the media industry. It continues the collective commitment of Scripps Howard and Elon to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the communications industries.

More than 100 students successfully completed the program’s virtual Exposure experience earlier this year, and participants were invited to apply for the summer Immersion workshop on Elon’s campus.

“The profession — and society as a whole, actually — really touts the importance of the four C’s of education: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication,” Furnas said. “This program will be 10 days straight of intensive simultaneous instruction in all of those areas. I feel confident that the program will pay dividends as the students continue telling stories back in their home communities, throughout their post-secondary education and well into careers.”

About the Scripps Howard Foundation

The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on journalism education, excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development and First Amendment causes.