By Ben Carlton ’16 (In the interest of full disclosure, Ben Carlton ’16 was in attendance as a participant)
Participants were buzzing about CUNY’s second “Newshive” event. Students taking part in the two days of activity ranged in age from 8th grade up to undergrad students. The theme for the whole project was the waterfront.
On the evening of Friday, May 8, students met at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, located just off of Times Square. Katina Paron, the head of Newshive, started things off with a game of get-to-know-you bingo as an icebreaker. After a frenzied 10 minutes, everyone was broken into teams of three, with a mentor in the journalism field.
Team seven was lead by Monica Castillo, a writer for the International Business Times. Her mentees were Ben Carlton ’16, Jessy Meneses ’16 from Metropolitan HS, and Meghan Holliday ’19 from Academy of St. Dorothy. Friday night was spent brainstorming ideas to fit the main theme.
“It’s a great reminder of how I broke into the world of journalism,” said Castillo. Ironically, Castillo didn’t attend school for journalism. She was initially in a pre-med program. Her parents were not thrilled with the decision, until she wrote her first cover story for the Boston Globe, Fresh Pond Mall theatre goes Bollywood.
After an hour of strategizing, team seven settled on Brooklyn Bridge Park as their target for the following day. There, the quartet was to photograph and interview park-goers, and to get their opinions on how the space has changed in the past five years.
Unfortunately, Saturday, May 9, dawned with fog and drizzle, dampening the squad’s hopes for a vibrant atmosphere on the waterfront. But nonetheless, they forged on. To keep everyone on task, Castillo charged everyone with two interviews, and a multitude of photographs. All of the interviews were conducted with the voice memo app, on the iPhone.
After a long day in the field, the teams filtered back into the school to begin work on their projects.
“Working on a tight deadline was a very new experience for me,” remarked Meghan Holliday ’19. All teams had a 5 pm deadline to make.
For the penultimate project, team seven used wordpress for the text, PowerPoint for the pictures, Soundcloud for the audio, and a site called Storify to compile tweets with the hashtag #newhive. All teams were encouraged to tweet and post on social media frequently, using that tag. Once all the projects were submitted, the eight teams met in the school’s newsroom for a science fair-esque presentation. Each mentor stayed by their team’s project, while the students and three judges explored the other teams products, voting on their favorites.
“Today was exhilarating, and really fun,” Saad Kabir ’16, of Hillcrest HS said. “But with that tight deadline, you really couldn’t slack.”
The votes were tallied, and team four was declared the winner. Their final piece was a professional video on a community clean-up project in the Bronx, featuring Councilman Ydonis Rodriguez.
In her wrap up, Katina Paron emphasized how great all of the team’s stories were. She told the students that they should all take pride in the fact that they, not the mentors, created all of this. “It’s amazing to bring these young journalists from that first meeting on Friday,” Paron said, “to these exceptional multimedia projects.”