The Chronicle

North Central journalism students mentor middle school newspaper club

Mar 02, 2016

Students in North Central College’s journalism program teamed up with budding middle school journalists to show them the ins and outs of newspaper and online production.

Staff at A. Vito Martinez Middle School reached out to Kay O’Donnell, assistant professor of journalism at North Central, to arrange for students in their newspaper club to spend a day building their reporting and writing skills with North Central students.

Serving as mentors, O’Donnell’s newsgathering class and Chronicle newspaper staff worked with the middle school students to interview people on campus, such as Head Men’s Cross Country Coach Al Carius and Assistant Professor of Broadcast Communication John Madormo. The young students developed their own articles from the interviews for publication on the College’s newspaper website, NCClinked.

“I think it’s important for (younger generations) to see what a newsroom is like,” said Hannah Bevis ’16, sports editor and English writing major. “It shows them what they are working toward and can help them decide what they want to do when they grow up.”

The middle school students benefitted from their campus visit because it opened their eyes to the potential opportunities and new skills they weren’t aware of before.

For example, sixth grader Noah Flores said, “I noticed that one person has a completely different answer than somebody else (when interviewing for a story). I asked two sports students ‘Is it easy to manage the sports that you play and your school work?’ One student said ‘no’ and the other said ‘yes.’”

North Central’s journalism students also benefitted by teaming up with students in the newspaper club. They put into practice what they learned in their courses including AP Style, editing, interview etiquette and more. The College’s journalism program is unique in its efforts to give students hands-on experience in their program of study. Journalism students are able to do things, like acting as mentors to younger generations, contributing to the College newspaper, and conducting authentic interviews with people across campus.

“I just got back from a conference in Nashville for sports writing,” said Bevis. “A lot of people who write sports for DI schools, or even DII schools, were talking about the difficulty they have in talking to athletes, because they have to go through the sports information department and many different levels of access. Here at North Central, it’s really easy to shoot an email saying, ‘I need to talk to you for 15 minutes for an article I’m writing. When can we meet?’”

Fortunately, the experiences journalism students take away are ones they can share with younger students coming up in the ranks.

Click here to read their stories on NCClinked. Below are some photos taken during the middle school students' visit to North Central College.

Story and photos by Stephanie Snyder ’15/M ’17


North Central Journalism