From politics to Twenty One Pilots: What’s news to high school students?


Bruce Crippen Photography LLC

Collin Trissel, Caroline Horvath, Vance Underwood, and Andrew Davis work on their photography skills during the workshop

Christopher Decker, Story Editor

The best way to loosen up the high school students attending Northern Kentucky University’s Journalism in the Digital Age Workshop: Bring up the Broadway play “Hamilton” or the politics of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The 19 students attending the first day of the weeklong workshop on campus cited everything from gun control, to international affairs, the recent shooting in an Orlando nightclub — and anything regarding the alternative music band Twenty One Pilots — as examples of the types of news they find interesting.

But the presidential election and theater drew the most interest.

“I think it’s really important people know what is going on in politics,” said Grace Engelman, a junior from Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning. “If Trump gets elected it affects the entire country and the same with Hillary. Politics affect everyone.”

The level of interest in politics surprised Michele Day, a journalism lecturer at NKU and the director of the workshop. “You always hear about how teens are disconnected,” Day said. “But these students were very well informed about the election and other topics that are important in the news.”

Sam Shelton, a senior from Highlands High School, said he enjoyed the discussion.

“There are a lot of interesting people here and it’s cool to see what they all think about different issues.”

While the beginning of the day was devoted to deciding what is newsworthy, the rest of the day was devoted to photography.

“I had never done photography before today,” Caroline Harvath, a freshman at Walnut Hills High School, said. “But I had so much fun doing it.”

Lead by mentors Bruce Crippen and John Gibson, the students learned some of the theories of photography like getting close to the subject and using the Rule of Thirds.

The students then split up into two groups and headed out to take some photos of their own. One group went to the Early Childhood Center on Campus while the other explored Griffin Hall.

Lina Kaval, a junior at Lakota East, said the children at the daycare provided great photo subjects.

“There were lots of natural facial expressions, which made it easier,” she said.

With one day down, the focus of the camp will shift to some hard core journalism principles. The students will learn how to conduct interviews in a press conference setting with men’s head basketball coach John Brannen and then learn how to write a story from the conference.

“I’m excited to learn more about writing and then learning how the photos I take will connect to the writing,” Harvath said.

For more updates on the students’ progress in the camp and to view their work throughout the week, keep visiting