University Community

High School Journalism Workshop welcomes 72 participants for annual summer event

Dozens of high school students invaded Athens, Ohio, and Ohio University’s Schoonover Center for the 2023 High School Journalism Workshop held July 11-15. 

Students interested in journalism and other media careers came from all over Ohio and surrounding states to participate. One of the 72 students, Yahyaa Khan, traveled from Pakistan. Needless to say, he won the award for the student who traveled the farthest. States as far away as New York, Delaware, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina were also represented. 

“You’re here in a special year. Does anyone know why?” Mark Turner, workshop director, asked during the welcoming session of the workshop. “This is the School of Journalism’s centennial year. It started 100 years ago, and not too many years later – in 1946 – came the high school journalism workshop. It is a long and wonderful tradition.”  

Attendees chose among eight tracks to follow during the four-day workshop. They were broadcasting, news design, magazine journalism, news writing, photojournalism, podcasting, sports writing and strategic communication. The students worked on media projects including articles, broadcasts, design spreads and podcasts while learning what goes into producing the work professionally.

The list of presenters and track leaders included members of OHIO’s own renowned faculty: Eddith Dashiell, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism; professors Bill Reader and Hans Meyer; and Kevin Smith, executive director of the Kiplinger Program for Public Affairs Journalism. They were joined by highly experienced professional alumni and instructors.

Matt Barnes is shown speaking at the High School Journalism Workshop
Matt Barnes talks to students on Wednesday, July 12, at the 2023 High School Journalism Workshop in the Schoonover Center. Barnes is a 2008 cum laude graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

The keynote address was delivered by proud Bobcat, NBC4 Columbus morning co-anchor Matt Barnes. The 2008 graduate told students how he got his start in broadcast journalism and what sold him on Ohio University and the Scripps College of Communication. 

“I didn’t want to go to school in Ohio,” Barnes said. “But I remember telling my dad during the visit, ‘Dang, I have to go to school here now’.”

Barnes advised the students to get started doing journalism as soon as possible. “One of the things that sold me was that I didn’t have to wait to start doing journalism.” He said other schools he visited talked about what he could do later. “Here, you can start the moment you get on campus,” Barnes said.

Other highlights of the workshop included:

  • News conference centering on the Ridges redevelopment featuring Cimmeron O’Connor, senior director for strategy and planning at Ohio University, along with Alicia Sweeney, campus planner.
  • Sports track visit to Peden Stadium to tour the mobile broadcasting unit. The sports track also spoke with expert in NCAA and intercollegiate athletic matters, Ohio University professor David Ridpath.
  • A viewing of “The Post” featuring Meryl Streep as the legendary publisher and owner of The Washington Post, Kathryn Graham, centering on the publishing of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.

Most of the instructors and presenters were Ohio University alumni who come back to campus and share their experiences and knowledge with the attendees. They included:

  • Tom McKee (‘73), who had 40-year career with WCPO-TV in Cincinnati as a reporter, producer, assignment manager and multimedia journalist
  • Mike Marot (‘89), an Associated Press sportswriter who has covered a number of professional teams as well as 20 Indianapolis 500s, eight Final Fours and three Super Bowls
  • Bill Clack (‘95), a former TV news reporter and anchor and now the webmaster and media/web services coordinator at the Pine-Richland School District
  • Barbara J. Perenic (‘97), a photojournalist and picture editor with The Columbus Dispatch
  • Jen Jones Donatelli (‘98), a Cleveland-based journalist, editor, author and educator
  • Joe Donatelli, a writer and editor who is currently the digital director at News 5, the Scripps-owned ABC station in Cleveland
  • David Jablonski (‘99), a reporter covering the Dayton Flyers, Ohio State football and the Cincinnati Reds for the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun, and Journal News
  • Larry Seward (‘02), a reporter at CBS Miami, formerly a senior reporter at WCPO in Cincinnati
  • Lukas Moore (‘19), an on-air talent located in Chicago with a podcast @3am Coney, focused on Cincinnati sports
  • Sarah Whitmore (‘19) graphic designer, social media marketer and educator. This fall, she will be pursuing a master's degree at the Ohio University Patton College of Education.

The workshop would be nearly impossible were it not for the talented group of OHIO students referred to as the “J Crew,” who worked diligently to guide, engage and mentor the visiting high school students.

The event was directed by Mark Turner, assistant professor in the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, along with Scripps administrative assistant Julie Conrad.

July 27, 2023
Staff reports