Elon University to launch second year of Emerging Journalists Program

The initiative, made possible by a generous grant from the Scripps Howard Fund, will offer four virtual workshops and an on-campus summer experience.

As part of the Emerging Journalists Program’s Immersion experience in summer 2022,Naamah Silcott and Michael Messele anchored a portion of the program’s news broadcast in the Jane and Brian Williams Studio.

Beginning in January, Elon University will launch the second year of its Emerging Journalists Program (EJP) that will help high school students learn what it means to be a journalist, to report and produce the news, and to inform communities. This free opportunity is made possible via a $300,000 grant from the Scripps Howard Fund.

Gabrielle Lashley, a high school student from Los Angeles, interviews Rep. Ricky Hurtado outside the North Carolina State Capitol in June 2022.

Last year, EJP offered six virtual learning sessions, a college fair and an immersive summer experience for students. While EJP reached more than 100 high school students throughout the academic year, 18 came to campus in June for 12 days of intensive training and reporting. That cohort ultimately produced a newspaper, a 45-minute newscast and a website.

“For me, it made sense to get involved with the Emerging Journalists Program because I obviously have an interest in journalism, and it is something I want to study in college,” said Michael Messele, a senior at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. “I figured it was an opportunity to get ahead and be better prepared. Plus, the chance to learn from college professors was something I didn’t want to miss. I’m excited to go back to Charlotte and show my peers and fellow staff members at my high school newspaper how we can enhance our storytelling and the work that we do.”

This year, EJP will offer four monthly virtual workshops set to begin in January. These sessions are open to all high school students and advisers. EJP’s on-campus summer residential experience is for 18 rising seniors from diverse ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and it will run from June 19-30, 2023. EJP will pay for the students’ travel, lodging, meals and instructional materials. Applications are now open for the virtual and in-person components.

“At the end of our time on campus over the summer, students asked me and (EJP curriculum coordinator) Kelly Furnas what we learned from running EJP, and the two words that immediately jumped to mind were hope and resilience,” said EJP program director Colin Donohue. “Our students demonstrated tremendous flexibility and thoughtfulness, as they achieved every task we laid in front of them, while continuing to remain upbeat, positive and serious. We’re excited to offer EJP again this year, and we’re thankful for Scripps Howard Fund’s continued support.”

Students or advisers with questions about EJP may reach out to Donohue (cdonohue@elon.edu) or Furnas (kfurnas@elon.edu).