Young Journalists Get A Head Start At MU

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COLUMBIA - Future journalists are getting their start this summer at the University of Missouri.

MU''s School of Journalism is holding the 41st Missouri Urban Journalism Workshop starting July 9.

Established in the early 70's, the workshop aims to get students interested in going to college and experiencing a college campus, and getting them motivated in journalism.

The students who are eligible to participte in the workshop are selected by a panel of journalism faculty. It's a very strict application process. Students must submit an application and three letters of recommendation, and they have to write two essays.

This year 19 high school students from different states are participating in the workshop.

Faculty from different reporting fields are assisting these students with their journalistic knowledge and real life reporting experience.

The students are working in newsrooms for the Columbia Missourian and KOMU-TV.

Mahogany Thomas, a junior from Rock Bridge High School, said it is a good opportunity for high school students like her to learn more about their dream career.

"I want to be part of the workshop because there is so much experience and knowledge you can learn, and I just feel that once you come here, everything is for a live time, and so I will always be able to apply whether it's in the School of Journalism, whether it's broadcast, and even just everyday life skills," Thomas said.

Teresa Taylor Williams participated in the workshop in 1988 when she was in high school. This year, she works as the faculty editor in the workshop to share her experience as a freelance writer.

Recalling her experience in the workshop, Williams said, "It was very important to me. I believe it changed my life and had an impact on my life because I never saw people of color who were journalists, and that's something that I want to do. When I came to the program, it was just wonderful experience."

"I am pleased to come back whenever I can, and just help to motivate, help to encourage and help to support upcoming young journalists. And I just really hope that more students could get out here because it's just a quality program. It's a wonderful program and they just get real life experience packed into a little more than a week. It's very unique."

The workshop director, Anna Romero, said the workshop benefits not only the students but also the Journalism School.

"For the Journalims School, in my opinion, it has helped recruit a lot more diverse students to the campus. It also kind of gives a head start, because the students have hands-on experience before they get to begin their news class."

The workshop runs through Sunday.