"On a scorching hot Monday morning four young women entered Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC ready for a week of learning at the Pulitzer Center Journalism Camp offered through Summit Summer."
So begins the Summer Times, the newsletter that those four students and their teacher, Anthony Myers, produced at the end of a weeklong summer camp this June. In the course of that week, the four middle school students looked at examples of journalistic articles, learned how to distinguish between fake news and credible journalism, and researched and wrote their own stories.
The students used Skype to learn about the Pulitzer Center and connect with Pulitzer Center journalists. Pulitzer Center Senior Education Manager Fareed Mostoufi gave the student journalists an overview of the Pulitzer Center's website and introduced them to Pulitzer reporting.
After the call, the students explored the Pulitzer Center website and came up with their own story ideas: Norah would focus on yellow fever in Brazil, Annika on climate change, Riley on elephants in captivity, and Lauren on the presence of water on one of Saturn's moons.
The next day, students spoke over Skype with Pulitzer Center grantee Justin Catanoso, a journalist with 30 years of experience in the field.
Catanoso spoke to the students about his work on climate change and his own inspiration for becoming a journalist. During the call, students asked him questions about his work and their own story ideas.
"I liked the part where Justin talked about the trees and how deforestation releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere," wrote Annika in a post-Skype survey.
"I learned that a lot of states and cities are doing a lot of environmental things to help prevent climate change," another student added.
For their final Skype call, the students spoke with Sydney Combs, a multimedia journalist and Pulitzer Center intern. In 2015, she reported on emerging female entrepreneurship in rural Tanzania as a Pulitzer Center student fellow. On the Skype call, she described her process of coming up with a story idea to students, explaining that sometimes story ideas change during the research process.
Combs also talked about the importance of intentionality when choosing visuals for a story and of being aware of the message that a particular image sends. Finally, she workshopped stories with the students, giving her input and advice.
In a survey about the Skype presentations, Norah wrote, "I learned about how the coral reefs are disappearing and how women in Africa are persecuted because of their gender...They were very informative about stuff I hadn't learned before."
Another student added, "I liked how they went over what we could do to help our own article."
By the end of the week, each of the students had produced a story, complete with an accompanying image and caption, to publish in the Summer Times. You can see the finished product below!