The summer of 2018 saw the revival of a unique collaborative tradition; high school students gathered together to write, report, and produce their own newspaper.
“You guys, you don’t even have stories written when you walk in on Sunday, and by Wednesday you have a paper, and that’s awesome,” Pat Graff, a guest speaker taught at the workshop for many years, said.
The 2018 High School Journalism Workshop, hosted at the University of New Mexico (UNM), is a three-day workshop exploring the basics of journalism.
By the end of the workshop, the participating students would have contributed two stories in the Future Press.
The workshop was founded in the early 1980s by the New Mexico Press Association (NMPA) and the Newspapers in Education Program.
It was a six-day course focused on teaching up to 36 students a variety of subjects related to journalism. Acting as the only journalism course in New Mexico run by professionals in the field, it continued annually until 2015.
After the loss of an NMPA executive director, leadership struggled with a lack of resources and loss of interest amongst potential candidates. The workshop finally shut down.
Three years later, under the direction of Rory McClannahan, an UNM graduate who had worked for the Albuquerque Journal for over 20 years, the program is revived.
Eleven high school students participated in the workshop. All from different areas of New Mexico, these students signed up for a variety of reasons. Whether it be practice for their school yearbook or newspaper, an interest in photography or -- as in the case of participant 16-year-old Shoshanna Graff -- to continue a family tradition.
Each of the students learned valuable communication skills.
“Those who know how to communicate are going to win the world,” McClannahan said.
With the Future Press, students will have in their hands a self-made publication, with photos, reporting, writing and design all done by them.
The overall goal of the program is not just to improve a student’s writing skills, but to spark an interest in journalism itself.
“Journalism allows you to walk up to a stranger, like me, and just start asking questions,” Graff said.
McClannahan sees the workshop continuing to grow into the future.
To check out the students' work online go to thefuturepressonline.wordpress.com.