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Twenty-two high school students from across Arizona are participating in an intensive, two-week media innovation training camp at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The High School Media Innovation Camp, a joint venture between the Cronkite School, The Arizona Republic/azcentral.com and the USA Today Network, pairs high school students with entrepreneurs, technologists, journalists and professors to learn how to create compelling content for digital audiences.
The residential camp on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus is free to participants thanks to support from The Arizona Republic’s Media in Education program, which is funded by subscribers who donate the value of their subscription during vacations or other temporary stoppages.
Zach Wilson, a senior at Snowflake High School in Snowflake, Arizona, is one of the students experimenting with 360-degree video, virtual reality and game development software at the Cronkite School.
“When I applied for the program, I was expecting to just learn the basics of journalism and virtual reality,” Wilson said. “But we’re going a lot deeper, and I really like it.”
The camp, which started June 18 and runs through the end of the month, is led by Retha Hill, director of the Cronkite School’s New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, and Anita Luera, the school’s director of high school journalism programs. Classes are taught by Cronkite faculty and Arizona Republic/azcentral staff.
Hill said the camp is designed to help develop the next generation of technology-savvy journalists. “A lot of these schools are already teaching iOS coding and 360-degree video,” she said. “This camp is helping to create a cadre of journalism coders who can do a whole lot more.”
The program culminates with a competition in which students develop project concepts and pitch them before a panel of judges. The winners have the opportunity to continue to collaborate on their project with industry experts from both the Cronkite School and the USA Today Network.
ASU has topped the U.S. News & World Report rankings as the most innovative school in the country for two consecutive years. The Cronkite School has played a key part in the university’s drive to innovate with recent initiatives that include the hiring of an innovation chief, the launch of a daylong celebration dedicated to journalism innovation and a journalism crowdfunding campaign.
2017 Media Innovation Camp Participants
Greenway High School
Mountain Pointe High School
Youngker High School
Mountain View High School
McClintock High School
Winslow High School
Maryvale High School
Madison Highland Prep
San Luis High School
North Canyon High School
Saja Indigo Hicks
North High School & Metro Tech High School
Western School of Science & Technology
Phoenix Coding Academy
Thunderbird High School
Cienega High School
Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center
San Luis High School
Sheldon Sargent II
Wiliams Field High School
Horizon Community Learning Center
Alhambra High School
Apache Junction High School
Snowflake High School