Every Sunday afternoon, students participated in optional clubs in Fisk Hall, spending two hours working on blogs, video or audio. Clubs gave students the opportunity to practice a wide range of journalistic skills. Depending on their interests, cherubs were separated into three clubs: Write Off, Show Off and Sound Off.
Students then came together Sunday night in Fisk Hall to present what they did during their workshops. Although the clubs were optional, almost every cherub chose to participate.
Students listened to a short lecture each Sunday about writing a blog and how to use it to get their audience’s attention. They learned how to use websites like Blogger and WordPress.
“I got my WordPress blog last summer, but never updated it until Write Off,” Haley Suh of California said. “I learned the importance of branding yourself and getting your own blog to showcase your work.”
Cherubs were given one abstract topic to write about each week. In writing the blog, students took advantage of the instructors’ experience in writing and learned how to edit their essays to make them better. Students learned to “show not tell” and to use creative language. After writing their blogs, cherubs got their work approved by at least three instructors to and some were chosen to read it during the evening’s presentations.
“I was shocked when everyone laughed with me when I was reading my blog because no one in my family thinks I am funny,” said Hannah McEwen of Illinois, a cherub who wrote blogs every week. “I thought, ‘Wow, people actually think I am funny.’ It was so interesting.”
In the Show Off club, students fulfilled three different tasks: hosting, editing and producing. One student hosted each week’s Show Off video, introducing the show and that week’s topic.
Each week, the Show Off team were given a question about journalism that they then asked other cherubs. Producers learned how to use a camera and microphone while interviewing their peers. After the producers’ work was done, cherubs in the editing group used Adobe Premiere to cut and crop the clips that producers shot.
“It was fun to interact with all the other editors and to put together a product,” Shawna Chen of California said.
Cherubs in Sound Off produced a podcast every week and learned to narrate an audio story. They interviewed community associates, instructors and cherubs. When they finished their interviews, students created an audio story with Adobe Premiere.
“I learned how to use the audio recorders and Adobe [Premiere],” Syd Stone of California said. “I just loved telling stories through audio.”