Living the Boyd Journalism Workshop Life
By Molly Cuddy
The guy with the sweet tooth who came with $25 worth of Sour
Patch Kids candy.
A hardcore car lover.
Two sports-obsessed guys.
A girl who wears too much yellow.
Daily Starbucks runs.
Extremely cold dormitory rooms.
A female boxer.
A wide variety of music tastes.
If you add all these elements together, it would be the perfect summary of the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Workshop experience.
Well sort of.
The Boyd Workshop has been around since 1979. It was moved around from Rider University to Monmouth University until journalist-educator Karyn Collins took it over and brought it to Rutgers University in 2016. Together with fellow journalist-educator Melissa Cornick, the Boyd expanded to become a digital journalism intensive.
The workshop is nicknamed a “journalism bootcamp”; its purpose is to educate high school students about the world of journalism. It gives students valuable skills needed if they wish to pursue a career in the field. For now, only ten students are selected each year. They all attend on a full scholarship.
However, the Boyd workshop is much more that than that.
The program is exceptionally fun, but also exhausting. The students work long hours every day, waking up around 7 A.M. and getting back to the dorms at 9:30 or 10 P.M. The workshoppers had a jam-packed schedule filled with visitors who spoke to them about their careers, opportunities available to the students, and several projects.
“I really enjoyed talking to the speakers,” said Ria Malatesta, a rising senior from Fort Lee. “It was a great way to network as well.”
Each student had to write a profile on another student, write an individual story about a certain aspect of the workshop, complete a team writing assignment and create a digital project about the topic of their choice that fit under the workshop’s theme: “Teens in 2017: Who We Are, What We’re Thinking.” The resulting digital project topics ranged from modern dating and mental illness to natural hair and coming out of the closet.
Aside from working on these assignments, Boyd students also took field trips. A student favorite was an afternoon trip to New York City to visit the offices of Bloomberg and Teen Vogue and dine with freelance television producer Patrick Riley. Students also visited the offices of the Asbury Park Press and the Rutgers television station RU-TV. One night was spent at the movies – “Zootopia” at the State Theater.
“My two favorite places we went were Bloomberg and Asbury Park Press,” said Hamilton resident Raven Harper. “The employees seemed to work together really well. Asbury Park Press seemed to have a lot of fun while they worked.”
“I really enjoyed Bloomberg,” said sports enthusiast Matt Chirico. “It was colorful and there were a lot of koi fish.”
“I loved going to the Asbury Park Press,” future criminal lawyer Tahirah Khan revealed. “They had a lot of energy which made me energetic, too.”
Alan Dang, who wants to be a breaking news reporter, couldn’t choose a favorite trip. Said Dang, 16, “I liked all the press buildings we went to.”
But another special part of the Boyd Workshop experience were things like the inside jokes and memories that blossomed throughout the course of nine days. The workshop was even the start of a new genre of music: ‘emo trap.’ There were the constant ‘boneless’ jokes and the several memes sent into the journalism group chat on the daily.
“One of the funniest things to me was knocking on the walls to communicate with each other in the dorms,” said rising senior Victoria Mione, an aspiring music journalist from Old Bridge, referring to students’ after curfew signal.
And of course, there were the daily Starbucks runs, sometimes occurring twice a day. In a span of a week, students said they were successfully able to visit Starbucks about nine times.
“Starbucks has spelled my name wrong three times this week,” said 17-year-old Joelle Tancredi from Old Bridge (or ‘Joel’ according to Starbucks).
Students also stopped for ice cream at Thomas Sweet Ice Cream on Thursday night, which was Channing Russell’s favorite memory of the program.
“I got a brownie sundae,” added the West Orange native.
The students also had to take public transportation via the Rutgers campus bus. It was quite the experience – teens falling all over each other as the bus came to quick stops, and the other passengers sending them dirty looks when they would crack up laughing.
“My personal favorite memory would have to be going to see ‘Zootopia’,” said rising senior Molly Cuddy from Hamilton. “Either that or when (fellow Boyd student) Victoria dropped her phone in the ice cream.”
The Boyd Workshop brought together 10 individuals from all different backgrounds, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and walks of life. They celebrated their love for journalism while making lifelong memories along the way.
Said 15-year-old Mustafa Ali of Piscataway, “I’ll never forget this program, and neither will the rest.”