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Fremont Union High School District’s J-Camp provides programs for student journalists

2023.09.05 22:30:37 Yujun Lee

[Staff members are interviewing the panels. Photo Credit: Yujun Lee]

Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD), located in Silicon Valley, California, hosted a J-Camp for all school newspaper staff across the school district in the second week of August 2023.

J-Camp, which stands for journalism camp, is an annual orientation program for  students enrolled in  journalism courses for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.

Over 150 students from various high school publications within the school district attended the event.

This year’s J-Camp was held at Homestead High School, one of the five high schools in the district.

The purpose of the program is to provide insights to the staff about their roles in their respective publications throughout the school year.

At the beginning of the event, students were splitted into three different groups: new staff, returning staff, and editorial board members. 

They were then assigned to different locations within the school campus for their respective sessions.

Sessions for new staff members focused on the fundamentals of journalistic writing and an introduction to various journalist activities. 

They were introduced to basic structures and principles, including writing ledes and headlines, as well as other forms of storytelling, such as multimedia creation and alternative content.

Additionally, they received lessons on essential skills such as prior research, interviewing techniques, proper attribution of quotes, and the use of social media for promotion.

“The sessions were very educational and informative,” said Ohm Bhakta, a new staff member from Homestead High School. 

“I learned lots of new skills that I have never learned before, like following the rules of the Associated Press Stylebook.”

Bhakta acknowledged that while some aspects were challenging, he expressed excitement about joining his school’s publication.

On the other hand, sessions for returning staff members, mostly consisting of section editors, focused on the basics of editing and giving constructive feedback.

They learned how publications worked and established guidelines for the upcoming school year.

Finally, the editorial board members, including editor-in-chief staff from each high school, participated in sessions on publication management and connecting with external activities and professional businesses to maintain each publication.

Following the separate group sessions, there was a session on photography, emphasizing the importance of taking appropriate photos based on the topic of the article. 

“It was interesting to learn how photography for journalism is not only just taking pictures, but there is more to it,” remarked Ethan Eisler, a new staff member from Monta Vista High School.

As the sessions were over, students were assigned to groups within their publications for the final project of the camp, which was to write an article on current topics within the FUHSD community.

Five principals from each school and the school district’s superintendent visited the camp, allowing  students to ask questions to the panel while adhering to the interviewing rules they had learned during the sessions.

After completing their respective articles, all staff members gathered in the school’s auditorium to present their work from throughout the camp.

“Looking at journalism staff members interviewing people and writing articles last year, I always wanted to be part of those activities,” Bhakta said. 

He added, “I am looking forward to writing interesting articles that inform people in our school and our community.”

Yujun Lee / Grade 10
Homestead High School