Every Sunday, cherubs can attend clubs where instructors teach new skills in writing, broadcast, coding and audio. The clubs are optional, but nearly every cherub takes advantage of the opportunity to learn something new.
Students entered the program ready to concentrate on writing but soon discovered that the clubs also let them explore new areas of journalism.
Didi Jin of New York City participated in Video Club and worked in production.
“I worked the sound or was the floor person, and that turned out to be a lot of fun,” Jin said.
Jin also enjoyed learning from instructors Meredith Sonnefeldt, Carlin McCarthy and Professor Ava Greenwell. The instructors guide cherubs through each broadcast while still allowing them to produce, host and edit the final show. Students feel proud of their work and accomplishments.
“It feels awesome,” Jin said. “I didn’t have any editing experience. I never picked up a camera. I didn’t know the sequencing of shots. Seeing my video, even if it’s two or three minutes but took an hour to edit, is rewarding and makes me happy.”
Other students quickly signed up for Audio Club, taught by guest instructor Lindsey Kratochwill. Brynn Winkler of Prairie Village, Kansas, tried personal narrative writing and coding before discovering her knack for audio.
Winkler said she enjoys listening to podcasts like those on NPR and that she always wanted to pursue audio at her high school publication but didn’t have the time or knowledge.
“One of the things I was looking forward to about coming here was having five weeks devoted to journalism,” Winkler said. “I could branch out and learn those things without stressing about homework I have due the next day.”
Audio offered a new medium through which Winkler could tell stories. She said she hopes to take her audio knowledge home and teach her staff new skills to produce audio pieces for their school website.
“One of my favorite parts about journalism is telling other people’s stories or getting an insight into other people’s lives,” Winkler said. “When you can put a tangible voice to that, it makes it even more powerful.”
Another option for students is Code Club. Alex Perry of Johns Creek, Georgia, dabbled in code before the program but wanted to improve her skills.
“I was learning a little bit before, but then cherubs threw me into the deep end of HTML,” Perry said.
Perry now wants to build a website and online portfolio. She plans to bring her knowledge back to school and build a website for her publication without hiring an expensive designer.
“I was interested in personal narrative, but then I realized, ‘Hey, I’m not going to really learn code unless I commit myself to it,’” Perry said. “So I kept on going, and I learned more. I might have missed some personal narrative, I might have missed some broadcast, but there will always be time to do that.”