The Stony Brook University School of Journalism has selected two outstanding high school journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to join its 2018 Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists.
Taylor Yon, 16, and Zoe Gordon, 15, rising juniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will join 24 other student journalists this July at Stony Brook University where they will spend a week working in the School of Journalism’s multimedia newsroom, producing content across several media platforms. The annual journalism boot camp, which celebrates its 10th year this summer, honors the late Robert W. Greene, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and editor at Newsday.
The Press Club of Long Island is sponsoring Yon’s and Gordon’s participation. Press Club President Scott Brinton said he is sure Yon and Gordon’s presence will inform any discussion or reporting on gun violence in America.
“I personally covered the wave of student protests on Long Island after the mass shooting in Parkland and saw firsthand the profound effect that the student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had on their peers here,” Brinton said. “I’m sure Zoe and Taylor will have an equally profound impact on the student journalists at the Greene Institute.”
Yon and Gordon were staff writers for the high school newspaper, the Eagle Eye, during the 2017-18 school year. On Feb. 14, 2018, their lives and roles as student journalists were transformed when 17 students and staff members were killed in a mass shooting at the school. Despite the tragic events, the Eagle Eye staff persevered and continued their mission, reporting on the event and its aftermath.
Gordon, who will be an editor at the Eagle Eye next year, said it was a “truly odd” experience to be a grieving student and a student journalist.
“We knew that we were trained to tell stories so we felt like we had to –– it was an instinct,” Gordon said. “None of us took any breaks, and we right away started to write our memorial issue and scratch our almost-finished third-quarter issue. Talking to other students about that day was sad and brought up some unwanted thoughts again, but we had to tell the world our stories.”
School of Journalism Dean Howard Schneider said the two students were invited to what traditionally has been a program for Long Island and New York City students as an expression of support for the journalism program at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In addition, Schneider noted that several of those killed in the Florida attack had ties to Long Island, including teacher Scott Beigel, a Dix Hills native.
“We are eager to show them Long Island and have them meet journalism students from across the region,” Schneider said.
For Newsday’s story on the program, click here.