Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism High School Summer Journalism Institute is a stepping stone for many young adults to see if they are interested in the field. Alumni of SJI are now getting real world experience in journalism.
Rebecca Smouse is currently a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Smouse participated in SJI in 2012.
“SJI was my first taste of a real newsroom. Before that, all I’d ever known was high school publications,” Smouse said. “SJI really showed me what it’s like to work in a newsroom alongside other reporters and helped me gain a better understanding of working on deadline and the meaning of multimedia journalism.”
“Well, there’s no ‘typical’ day per-se. I’m a reporter with the breaking news team. I work in the West Valley location Tuesday through Friday and then I’m back downtown on Saturdays,” Smouse said. “I write stories from press releases and often go out to scenes to report on things like fires or events around the valley.”
“The job is busy, challenging, frustrating, irritating and a wonderful learning experience,” Smouse added. “I’m surrounded by talented journalists every day and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
Samantha Incorvaia is also an alumna of SJI 2012. Incorvaia is currently a sophomore at the Cronkite school.
“I decided to go to the Cronkite school because I wanted to go to a university where the professors and mentors know your name,” Incorvaia said. “ I love the smaller, Downtown Phoenix campus because the people care to know your name and you’re not just another face in a sea of others. Also, some of the best technology and educational experiences are affordable and about 45 minutes away from my house in Chandler.”
Incorvaia is part of the Downtown Devil‘s summer staff and she is an intern with The Cronkite Journal, the school’s news and alumni magazine.
“My first year at the Cronkite school was fantastic. I was fortunate enough to meet so many new people, make the Dean’s List for both semesters and be a part of the Downtown Devil on campus,” Incorvaia said. “I am currently a copy editor and staff reporter for the digital student-run publication. I’m so happy with my college choice and I can’t picture myself anywhere else but here.”
At this year’s SJI, two former alumni of the program discussed their experience post-SJI.
One of the past alumni was Juan Juarez, who participated in SJI 2009. Juarez is currently a student at Grand Canyon University.
The 26 students part of SJI 2014 were able to hold a Skype news conference with Juarez. Juarez is currently an intern at NBC’s Network Desk in New York City. Juarez gave the students insight into the journalism field.
“SJI was the kickoff,” Juarez said about his career in journalism.
Juarez is bilingual, he speaks both Spanish and English. He described English as and a whole new experience when it comes to the journalism field. English is very fast paced, compared to Spanish, which is more close-knit.
“Stories are covered differently,” Juarez said in reference to writing stories in English versus Spanish.
Juarez encouraged students to look for opportunities outside. He also advised building students’ skills in editing, shooting, and improving stories, which will help in the students’ résumé.
Juarez explained how the editing programs students use in SJI and college are the same ones used in the career force.
“The ones you use in college,are the ones you use in your career,” Juarez explained.
The SJI participants had the opportunity to conduct a news conference with Gabriel Gamiño, who participated in SJI in 2013.
Currently, Gamiño is an intern at Arizona PBS. Gamiño is the social network director of Dare 2 Dream Foundation. Gamiño has always had an interest in journalism.
He shared his favorite part of journalism is “learning something new everyday and [that] you don’t know what to expect.”
Gamiño is also bilingual and expressed that in being a minority, you have to prove yourself to everyone. He explained to the students that his setbacks were being Latino and an underdog.
Gamiño gave one last piece of advice to the SJI students: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself.”