HSJI celebrates 75th anniversary, adapts to online conference format
The Media School’s High School Journalism Institute turned 75 this week.
Traditionally filled with workshops in Franklin Hall, dorm stays and cafeteria visits, HSJI adapted to a virtual conference format for its 75th anniversary July 12-15 due to COVID-19 precautions.
Though not in person this summer, HSJI still brought together pre-college students, journalism advisors and The Media School. The institute named 75 distinguished alumni, offered a virtual reunion and facilitated the workshop conference-style to honor the 75 years of HSJI.
“This is about connecting with other people,” HSJI director and senior lecturer Teresa White said. “That’s what makes this special, and that’s why we have to have a 75th anniversary. To bring people together.”
Each day of the camp included live keynote speakers, breakout sessions and social hangouts. Administrators wanted all the sessions to occur live rather than asynchronously because HSJI is about engaging with others in real-time, White said.
“It’s about getting together with other people who love the same things as we do and sharing stories and sharing laughs,” she said.
To celebrate HSJI’s history, almost every speaker selected to present attended HSJI as a student, White said.
She herself has been involved with HSJI since the summer of 1986 — married to the institute longer than she has been married to her husband, she jokes.
“There are generations of people, whether they are related by blood or whether they are just journalism family — the family you choose — who have connections through HSJI,” she said.
Keynote presentations explored investigative reporting, photography tips, news deserts and social media management.
Speakers included HSJI distinguished alumnus Chris Howell, who boasts more than 20 years of experience as a photojournalist and currently serves as a digital marketing specialist at IU Student Affairs.
He presented the technical aspects of photojournalism, offered general tips about storytelling in different capacities and answered questions from students.
“You can’t shoot too much,” Howell said laughing Tuesday after his keynote when a student asked how many shots on average he took at events. Between 2,000 and 3,000, he answered.
Students attended from across the country, ranging from Massachusetts to California, White said.
HSJI serves as a continuing education outreach program for both in-state and out-of-state high school students and teachers.
This year’s 50 attendees join thousands of HSJI alumni who trace their careers, friends and mentors to their time at the institute.
“When people attend and participate, they join our family. They’re part of something bigger that has been going on for years,” White said. “They are part of that legacy.”