Source: Manatee County School District

Last weekend LRHS Journalism Students attended a program hosted by the University of Florida at Bayshore High School.

The program, titled “College of Journalism and Communications” (CJC On the Go), was an opportunity for students from all Manatee County schools to workshop their skills, hear from alumni and students, and discover careers in the field of journalism.

It was organized and run by Professor Harrison Hove, senior lecturer and associate chair of the journalism department at UF, who shared his story to inspire future journalists.

“I was really interested in serving my community and I originally thought I wanted to go into politics, but then I realized that there is such a platform in journalism to tell stories that communities care about,” said Hove.  “Sometimes people in positions of power might listen to them and become influenced by what we have written. And just knowing that we journalists have the power to promote and influence change is what drives me.”

During the program one student, Palmetto High’s Luke Rivoldo said, “I’ve learned a lot so far, and I do think it will make me a better journalist. I’ve never really thought about the behind the scenes of TV news and newspaper writing, so seeing it laid out is really interesting.”

Hove brought in UF alumni to talk to students about their experiences thus far in their careers. Evyn Woods, a reporter from FOX 13 Tampa Bay, and Skye Lebron, a reporter for WUSF radio, both got opportunities to speak to students about potential career pathways and how journalism has impacted their lives.

Lebron commented,” The main thing (for students) was to keep their eyes open to different opportunities.  Like I said I think a lot of people focus in on one specific subject of journalism they want to do but my challenge to students that are interested in journalism is try something different, try something that makes you uncomfortable, try something you initially hate because it turns out you might actually really enjoy it and it could change the whole trajectory of your career.”

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Students didn’t just get to listen to guest speakers, though.  During the program they were also hard at work applying themselves to studying the different pathways of journalism and challenging themselves with real life situations they might potentially face in the field.

They were guided by a select group of Hove’s students who were able to give insight and answer questions. One of these students was UF Senior Jiselle Lee, a Journalism major and former editor in chief of the Alligator, the University of Florida’s student organized paper, who also had some experience in the Bradenton area.

Lee was happy to offer advice to the high school students and said, “I knew that I could help. I worked for the Bradenton Herald for a time and was very excited at the prospect of working in Bradenton again. I enjoy being with people who actually care about journalism, and being surrounded by people who were like me at a young age.”

Lebron emphasized instilling a sense of enthusiasm into the students, saying “I think if you’re passionate about specific subjects about how things are happening in your community whether it be politics, crime, sports or anything in between. We need people covering these things or else they won’t be covered.”

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