Make your summer plans now: Apply to the IPF/EIU High School Journalism Workshop

How does an all-expenses-paid, 10-day summer j-camp sound? If you're a student, read on for application info. If you're an adviser, share this with your students!

March 8, 2016

UPDATE: The dates for the 2016 IPF/EIU High School Journalism Workshop have been changed so that the workshop will begin after the Chicago public school year ends. The workshop will now run from June 22 to July 1, allowing Chicago public high school students to attend. The workshop had originally been scheduled to run from June 5 to 17. The final day of school for the 2015-16 Chicago public school year is June 21. 

It’s never to soon to start planning for the summer. And for high school journalists, that means looking for potential workshops to attend.

If practical but affordable training is what you’re after, two of IJEA‘s partners, the Illinois Press Foundation and Eastern Illinois University, are once again teaming up to offer an all-expenses-paid workshop ideal for high school students who want to experience life as a working reporter.

Applications are now available, and the deadline is May 18, 2016.

The IPF/EIU High School Journalism Workshop is a 10-day residential program that provides students an intimate look at journalism as a career. The goal is to educate students about the journalism profession, including approaches by modern, digital newsrooms.

The 2016 workshop will run from June 22 to July 1. 

The program introduces students to the complete process of publishing news: gathering and validating information, substantiating and using multiple sources, writing news, editing, designing and production. In addition, students are exposed to the concepts of news literacy and how to differentiate and establish fact from fiction in today’s sometimes frenetic, rush-­to­‐report news environment.

Professional journalists provide most of the instruction through presentations and hands-on exercises. Students start reporting immediately, beginning with a story by the end of the first day.

By the end of the 10 days, students will write at least three stories, take at least two news photos, report through social media, post stories on a news website, and edit/design.

More than 30 journalists assist each year, representing news organizations throughout Illinois and from nearby states. In past years, journalists have included those from the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-­Times, Chicago Tribune, ESPN, Indianapolis Star, Jet magazine and St. Louis Post-­Dispatch.

In the second week, students intern at several newspapers. Sites typically include The (Champaign) News-­Gazette, Mattoon Journal-­Gazette & Charleston Times-Courier, (Decatur) Herald & Review, (Robinson) Daily News, Taylorville Breeze-­Courier and The Effingham Daily News. For three days, students are driven to participating papers, where they work with journalists on assignments, which range from coverage of murder trials to interviewing the governor to exploring county fairs.

The best part is that the two-week workshop is paid for thanks primarily to the Illinois Press Foundation. The Dow Jones News Fund and the McCormick Foundation are also significant contributors to the program. Housing, meals and tuition are paid from these funds.

Students must complete an application form that is available here.

Other requirements are:

(1) Completion of sophomore year in high school.
(2) A 500-­‐word essay by the student describing his/her career goals and how the workshop would help achieve those goals.
(3) Submission of three samples of the student’s writing, preferably published non-fiction or graded essays.
(4) Two letters of recommendation from the student’s teachers/advisers.

If possible, email all materials as documents, scans or PDFs to the email address of Prof. Joe Gisondi, workshop director, [email protected].

Final application deadline is May 18, 2016, but entries may be judged and internship slots filled earlier. So apply early!

Need more information? Contact Joe Gisondi by phone (217.581.6003), fax (217.581.7188) or e-­mail ([email protected]).


2 Responses to “Make your summer plans now: Apply to the IPF/EIU High School Journalism Workshop”

  1. Sharon Schmidt on March 2nd, 2016 5:47 am

    Would you ever consider changing the dates of this workshop? Chicago public school students may not attend it because our schools usually are in session until the third week in June.


  2. David Porreca on March 3rd, 2016 9:58 am


    Thanks for your message! I’ll forward your question to the workshop’s director, Joe Gisondi of EIU.


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