SOJC campaign will help more students explore career paths

Professor with students

A program that helps high school students explore careers in journalism and communication has launched a crowdfunding drive to provide scholarships to a weeklong summer workshop on campus.

Next Generation Storytelling, offered through the UO School of Journalism and Communication, gives young communicators a crash course on career possibilities in today’s creative and media economy. The school hopes to raise $5,000 so more students from underrepresented backgrounds or low-income households can attend.

The school is using the DuckFunder platform to raise the money, which will pay for student meals, housing, college credit and transportation. All funds go directly to support students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds and low-income households. Any gift amount is accepted and appreciated.

During the weeklong summer program, students get a glimpse into college life as they live in a dorm, eat in the dining hall and attend classes taught by School of Journalism and Communication professors.

“My favorite parts about attending Next Generation Storytelling were meeting a variety of people who have the same passion as I do and being able to get a taste of what campus life is like,” said Rylee Butterfield, a La Pine High School junior.

Students also interact with industry professionals through the program’s featured speaker series. At the 2017 Next Generation Storytelling session, Sonya Ross from the Associated Press, Gary Metzker from California State University at Long Beach, Yvonne Leow formerly of Vox.com and Sarah Barshop from ESPN’s “NFL Nation” gave attendees firsthand accounts of life as a professional communicator and tips for success.

Barshop is returning this summer, along with Jason George, screenwriter and producer of hit television shows including “Narcos,” “Nashvillle” and “The Blacklist.”

Next Generation Storytelling allows students to experience School of Journalism and Communication classes in advertising, journalism, media studies and public relations. This year, courses focus on social media, public speaking, sports reporting, smartphone storytelling and crafting stronger profiles.

“I learned how to expand my style of writing to help avoid bias, and my knowledge on subjects,” said Tyler Gangon, an Astoria High School senior who attended the 2017 session. “As head sports editor at my school paper, I brought back my personal experiences to help other members of the class become better writers.”

One goal of the program is to cultivate a sense of the opportunities available across the communications industry.

“As I engage students and parents about attending the university and majoring in journalism and communication, I’ve found that some are under the impression that these careers are dead-ends. But that’s absolutely not true,” said Anthony Whitten, Next Generation Storytelling director and NextGen Media outreach coordinator. “This program gives students direct access to successful individuals working every day in the field and shows students all the exciting career choices out there today.”

Learn more and donate now through Feb. 28 at sojc.co/NGSfund.

—By Simone Myers, School of Journalism and Communication