Workshops combine outside interests with journalism

Katie Ho, Gina Kim and Nina Cong taste-test foods at the Writing about Food workshop.

Katie Ho, Gina Kim and Nina Cong taste-test foods at the Writing about Food workshop. Photo by Sarah Pillard.

The Medill cherub program offers workshops on such topics as fashion, food and sports to help students explore their passions.

Guest instructors Mary Lou Song and Bret Begun and instructor Cynthia Wang ran the “Writing about Fashion” workshop. About 20 cherubs attended the optional class, which included a quiz on necklines, skirt shapes and fashion designer names. Instructors taught the importance of recognizing a designer at an event to get an exclusive interview.

Brian Meller learned what it would take to combine his interest in fashion with journalism.

“They made a great presentation that showed all of the different things you need to know for fashion journalism, which might not seem like that much,” Meller said. “But there’s a million dress styles, a million tie styles, a million collar styles, a million shirt styles. It’s never-ending, and they showed how people think it’s so simple, but there is a lot to know.”

Meller said he liked watching other cherubs guess the correct answers on the style quizzes learning about passions other than journalism.

“Everyone was united over a common interest that we hadn’t explored yet,” he said.

Wang, ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg and community associate Dan Waldman conducted the “Sports Journalism” workshop, attended by about 20 cherubs.

Wang spoke about the five Olympic games she covered, showing students photos and videos from them. Rittenberg discussed reporting and writing about college football for ESPN. Waldman spoke about reporting for a campus newspaper and website.

Benjamin Rosenberg, who came to cherubs with a passion for sports, attended the workshop.

“There was a lot about blogging, which is one of the major ways we can cover major sports at our age because a lot of us are limited to high school,” he said. “My dream job would be a sports beat writer. This gave me more direction on how I might go about accomplishing that. When I go home, I will start my own sports blog.”

Song and Joe Grimm, instructor and co-author of the definitive guide to Michigan hotdogs, “Coney Detroit,” headed the “Writing about Food” workshop. Students sampled 10 unusual food items and wrote short paragraphs about the experience. The food items included wild boar and stinky cheese, and the students shared their reviews of each dish.

Jackie Sussman is the lead food writer at her school’s publication. She participated in the food workshop so she could hone her skills.

“At school I have an affinity to pick every food story so I can go with my dad to different restaurants,” she said. “It’s a good bonding experience. We order eight different dishes and it’s fun.”

Sussman said she liked the experience of trying new foods like deep-dish pizza with other cherubs.

“If you come to cherubs it’s one of the most fun workshops because you get to sit, eat and write,” Sussman said.