June 21st, 2010
SPJ Reporters Institute a worthwhile program – take their word for it
By Scott Leadingham
Posted by Scott Leadingham
By all accounts, the SPJ Reporters Institute for early career broadcast and video journalists was an overwhelming success. Held June 13-16 at the Poynter Institute (though it’s strictly an SPJ initiative), the program brought together 29 eager and talented journalists from all corners of the country for what can only be described as journalism boot camp.
The program just completed its fourth year, and all systems are a go for next year. Dates and application information will be announced in the coming months.
Journalists in their first three years are invited to apply. It may seem odd that people recently out of school are coming back for what essentially amounts to a crash course in journalism. But take it from us and the participants – it’s a worthy and reinvigorating cause. We’ve heard over and over that even though participants were recently graduated, they weren’t sure of their long-term career paths in journalism. The Reporters Institute helped change that. For example, take some of these testimonials from the recent broadcast/video group:
“Throughout all of the sessions, discussions, meals and critiques, there was a constant energy – a pulse, a passion – for journalism, for bettering ourselves as reporters and as public servants. I will now return to my newsroom with new perspectives and new tools to do the powerful, important, impactful work I’ve always dreamed of doing.” – Alex Villarreal, Voice of America
“When I arrived in Florida, I was nervous because I could immediately see that I was surrounded by serious talent from around the country. Once I was here and the program began, I felt really – comfortable. I would recommend this program to my peers because I know it would help them grow.” – Robert Guzman, TV Azteca
“The Reporters Institute was a game changer and a life changer for me. Being among so many talented peers and some of the most respected and knowledgeable leaders in the industry was revitalizing and refreshing. It was just what I needed after my first year of being a working journalist.” – Maddie Garrett KXII-TV
“I cannot express how much I have learned. I have attended conferences in the past and none have been this intense, this valuable or this educational. Reporters Institute is raising the bar in terms of journalistic academics and professional development, unlike anywhere else.” – Samira Said, Freelancer
“My goal is to become a newsroom manager one day and I want to be equipped with the knowledge to make solid decision and judgments. The SPJ Reporters Institute helped me to move towards that goal.” – Hubert Tate, WALA FOX 10 News
“I was on the brink of another career, not because I don’t love journalism, but because I was frustrated with where I am. Through public records, diversity and multimedia training, SPJ forced me to realize it’s not about me. Instead, it’s about the people I’m blessed to serve with something as powerful as information. I feel redeemed and transformed.” – Sharie Harvin, WLTX-TV
“I came to the Reporters Institute very much at a crossroads in my career. I was going through the motions and not taking advantage of my unique responsibility. After three days here, I feel energized, inspired and ready to tackle the next workday head on and make a difference.” – Becky Bereiter, News 14 Carolina
“I didn’t know what my next step in my career was going to be. Whether I was going to stay with local cable or go to the affiliate world. Now I know I need to decide what I want from my career, and that will lead me to the next step.” – Jonathan Lowe, News 14 Carolina-Charlotte
“I am leaving here with a good knowledge of how journalism has changed, where the industry is going and what I will do to prepare myself. I learned how to do my job better and more efficiently and also how to put my career first. This program changed by perspective on journalism and my career and armed me with the tools I need to become better in my field. Thank you, SPJ!” – Vidya S. Singh, NY1 News
For information on future (or past) Reporters Institutes, e-mail SPJ program coordinator Heather Porter.