As cherub Isabel Chambers of Burlingame, California, was sitting in the “Writing about Food” workshop, she thought she was going to write about foods she would be expected to recall. Instead, instructors brought caviar, spiced dried mango and mango mochi ice cream to the classroom. Then she realized the food she was about to eat would be the topic of her article.
“Writing about Food” was one of 20 workshops cherubs could choose from during the five-week program. Workshops ranged from “High School Newspaper Critique,” where cherubs received feedback on their school newspapers, to “Intersectional Journalism,” a workshop in which students discussed how to report on marginalized communities. The workshops served as a break from the hard news taught in daily lectures, letting them explore other types of journalism and special topics.
Chambers said she found the workshops immersive and could interact more with her classmates and instructors.
“We were able to talk directly with the instructors in an interactive course rather than just a lecture, which I find always helps me learn better, as I’m able to practice it right there,” Chambers said. “Experience always works best when trying to learn something new.”
Cherub Megan Sweeney of La Jolla, California, was among 30 students to attend the “Profile Writing” workshop, taught by guest instructors Bret Begun and Cynthia Wang. Cherubs learned techniques on interviewing to writing in-depth about a person. Sweeney said that hearing how these professional journalists contact sources they had interviewed and then interviewed those sources in-depth was the best thing about the workshop.
“They gave a lot of specific anecdotes from their practice of journalism in the field,” Sweeney said. “In the lectures, it’s more of a general overview of rules you should use when you’re reporting or interviewing someone for a profile.”
Cherub Penelope Zhang of Beijing attended “How to Produce an Audio Podcast.” She said the smaller number of cherubs in a workshop gave her a chance to interact more with the instructors.
“There were only 12 of us there, so it was easy for us to engage with the instructor,” Zhang said. “It also helps us to pay more attention. When you’re in a room with 82 other people, it’s hard to focus on every moment absolutely.”
Zhang enjoyed the process of starting a podcast. Cherubs in the “How to Produce an Audio Podcast” workshop came up with ideas for a podcast and planned the topics that would be discussed in each episode.
“The best part about the workshops is that you can just be really creative and do anything you want to do,” Zhang said. “There are no limitations or boundaries. It’s a cool process that I’ve never been exposed to.”