Journalism camp at Northwestern in Chicago

I loved living in Chicago when I went to graduate school at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. I also spent the summer of 1982 as a counselor/instructor for a popular five-week summer program called “Cherubs.

“Cherubs is more than a journalism camp. From high schools around the world, we come to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. We immerse ourselves in media for five weeks. We study writing, reporting and editing for print, digital and broadcast. We make lifelong friends. As our instructors say, ‘Welcome to the best summer of your life.'”

The students were high achievers. Mine included the niece of  California Gov. Jerry Brown, and a daughter of the founder of Ms. Magazine. She is now a reporter with the New York Times. We’re in touch on Facebook.

We also enjoyed going to Cub games on the “L.” I would go with my friend David Jackson, now the White House correspondent for USA Today. You could get tickets on game day and sit behind home plate, because the team was so bad. Now, of course, the Cubs are World Series champions.

We’re going to visit the campus again, because our son wants to check it out on his ongoing “excellent adventure” to scout out colleges. He’s a high-achieving “STEM” student but a good writer.

Here’s an entertaining video from this week when the Cubs were rained out:

A video from the “Cherubs” program is here:

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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5 Responses to Journalism camp at Northwestern in Chicago

  1. Chris Bishop says:

    Journalism is one of the most changed professions in the past few decades. Other than the campers being much better looking, I wonder how the camp has changed since the 80’s?

  2. jeffpelline says:

    Great question! Much of it remains “old school,” with the same director since 1985. The instructors critique papers and meet with students individually for weekly conferences. The focus is on writing fundamentals.

    This includes reporting, writing, fact checking and Associated Press style among other things, with practical assignments in various types of media. In addition to print, students learn video, audio and photojournalism as well as various forms of digital storytelling. They also will be given the opportunity to learn coding.

    Class usually begins at 9 a.m. Throughout the day, students attend lectures, labs and workshops on a wide variety of journalistic subjects, including how social media is reshaping journalism.

    The students are high achievers too: about half the applicants are accepted.

  3. Chris Bishop says:

    What worries me with our current educational climate is, we get so caught up in technology and “toys” that we lose the basics. I would assume, “reporting, writing, fact checking” are foundational to the profession regardless whether it be hand written or a chromebook.

    The technology is supposed to make your job easier, but the job is still the same. One skill I think our kids are missing, and I’ve spoken to Louise McFadden about this is, our kids cannot “write on the fly” : think Blue Book exams. If you give them time, they can produce. Give them 30 minutes, different story. Most tests; ACT, SAT, graduate entrance exams still have written portions that you have to complete. I don’t know if we prepare for that.

  4. jeffpelline says:

    You have nailed it! Thanks for bringing some real world insight to this issue, right down to the Blue Book exams. And thanks to the Bishops (Chris and Matthew) for educating our local children.

  5. Judith Lowry says:

    “Let’s get it nailed down … somebody … let’s find out! Let’s get it straight so we can report this thing accurately!”
    We need journalists like the man who spoke those words, now more than ever.

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