Hofstra hosts Press Club-funded Summer Journalism Institute

Ten Long Island high school students from diverse racial, cultural and economic backgrounds recently took part in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication’s 2018 Hofstra High School Summer Journalism Institute, writing biographical feature stories and museum reviews while learning about careers in the media from Hofstra professors and top journalists in the field.

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Momna Choudhry, left, and Andrew Candio, both Elmont High School sophomores, hard at work at the Hofstra University High School Summer Journalism Institute. 
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

The Bernard and Sandra Otterman Foundation and Press Club of Long Island financially supported the program, which ran from July 23 to 28. The students, who were selected on the basis of academic performance and a demonstrated interest in writing or storytelling, hailed from Elmont, Freeport and Midwood high schools.

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Michael Otterman, executive director of the Bernard and Sandra Otterman Foundation, and a published author and former journalist, spoke to the students on the Institute’s opening day, on July 23.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

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Former NBC executive Mark Lukasiewicz, now dean of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, welcomed students. 
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

“The idea behind the Summer Journalism Institute is to give promising young people a closer look at how exciting the field of journalism can be,” said Scott Brinton, adjunct associate professor in the Department of Journalism, Media Studies and Public Relations and executive editor at the Long Island-based Herald Community Newspapers.

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Fox News stopped by to do a story on the Summer Institute. Above, recent Freeport High School graduate Maya Brown being interviewed. 
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

“Now, more than ever before, we need professionals of all backgrounds in our nation’s newsrooms to make sure all viewpoints are covered fairly,” said Brinton, who is the Press Club of Long Island’s president. “The Institute’s goal is to encourage students to discover and develop their voices so they can tell the stories that are important to them.”

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Laila Choudhry, from left, Momna Choudhry, Abimbola Omotade and Sara-Emily Khan in a class on videography, led by Bobby Cassidy, Newsday’s deputy multimedia editor.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

Brinton and Assistant Professor Mario Gonzalez, who is a freelance multimedia producer for Newsday, were the Summer Journalism Institute’s co-directors.

“It was inspiring to see students who were always punctual, engaged and had a pure interest in learning about the foundations of journalism,” Gonzalez said. “If these students were any indication, the future of journalism is very bright.”

This year’s participants included:

Maya Brown, Freeport High School, 2018 graduate.

Andrew Candio, Elmont High School, rising sophomore.

Hadia Choudhry, Elmont Junior High School, rising eighth grader.

Laila Choudhry, Elmont High School, 2018 graduate.

Momna Choudhry, Elmont High School, rising sophomore.

Haleema Iqbal, Midwood High School, Brooklyn, rising junior.

Ibrahim Iqbal, Midwood High School, Brooklyn, 2018 graduate.

Sara-Emily Khan, Elmont High School, rising junior.

Nia Matthews, Freeport High School, 2018 graduate.

Abimbola Omotade, Elmont High School, rising junior.

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Shawna VanNess, Newsday’s deputy managing editor for features, leading a class on story development and social media.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

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Ronny Reyes, left, and Nakeem Grant, right, both Herald Community Newspapers writers, spoke on the importance of community journalism.
Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

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Institute participants toured Herald Community Newspapers in Garden City, including the pressroom. They were joined by, at left, Tim Denton, editor of the Franklin Square-Elmont and Valley Stream Heralds.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

Throughout the week, students learned the crafts of interviewing, researching, writing, and shooting photos and videos. They also toured the Hofstra Museum and Herald Community Newspapers’ editorial offices and pressroom in Garden City, as well as attended lectures by guest speakers, including:

  • Michael Otterman, executive director of the Bernard and Sandra Otterman Foundation, and a published author and former journalist.
  • Shawna VanNess, deputy assistant managing editor and Hofstra adjunct professor.
  • Bobby Cassidy, deputy multimedia editor and Hofstra adjunct professor.
  • Nakeem Grant, the Malverne-West Hempstead Herald editor and a Hofstra graduate.
  • Ronny Reyes, the Franklin-Square-Elmont Herald reporter.

And students had a chance to chat with former NBC executive Mark Lukasiewicz, who joined Hofstra this month as the new dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

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Elizabeth Dysart, director of education and engagement for the Hofstra University Museum, led students on a tour of the university’s most recent show, featuring the works of acclaimed African-American artist Romare Bearden.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

The program is part of the Community Journalism Program, which pairs Hofstra graduate students as one-on-one mentors with students in Hempstead High School’s newspaper club during the fall. Both initiatives help fulfill Hofstra’s mission to celebrate diversity and expose young people to college-level work and career opportunities.

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Program participants Abimbola Omotade, Maya Brown and Laila Choudhry during class.
Photo by Scott Brinton/Hofstra and PCLI

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