On February 27th and February 28th, Amity High School students attended a journalism symposium held by the Yale Daily News (YDN). The attendees had the opportunity to speak with renowned journalists and learn about the journalism process with Yale Daily News staffers. Typically restricted to the New Haven area, the new online format allowed for international students to learn as well.
The legendary Bob Woodward, longtime Washington Post investigative reporter of Watergate fame, answered many questions about his processes, perspectives, and past experiences. When asked how he continuously gets people to divulge information given his reputation, he explained that “you have to develop a relationship, a trust with people. And that is a capacity to listen… it’s amazing, I think people are kind of secret sharers.” Woodward evidently has interviews down to a science, recommending that “8:15 on a Tuesday night is the best time to visit.” He elaborated with a thrilling anecdote concerning getting information from an uncooperative four-star general, saying, “[I owe my success to] showing up and making it clear to him I wanted to hear what he knew.”
Emily Nelson, Senior Editor at the Wall Street Journal, dispensed valuable advice to the prospective journalists. When a student asked how to pursue this career path, she responded, “It can be the smallest story, the most local topic. You can write for any outlet… but just seeing the work is what we want to see.”
Students attended fascinating seminars such as “Reporting 101: From Idea to Print” and “Dead, Dying, Reborn: The Future of News.” Orange teens discussed how to write the perfect article and how journalism may evolve and take other forms.
As the conference came to a close, the YDN held an awards ceremony for student newspapers and articles. Although no Orange students secured the victory, a few select schools and students from across the globe managed to leave the symposium with validation for their hard work. Everyone, however, left with something far more invaluable: journalistic knowledge directly from the world’s leading authorities, and a headstart on their future careers.
by Zachary Garfinkle