Students meet professionals, learn journalism skills

By |


High school journalist-hopefuls from throughout Tennessee had the chance to hone their journalism skills and meet with professionals in the communications field at Lipscomb’s J-Camp, June 8-11, co-hosted by the Tennessee High School Press Association. 

Sessions explored news, feature and sports writing, design, editing, photography and video.

This year, the 11 participating students were able to take out their notepads and cameras to cover Lipscomb’s Nissan Fundamentals BisonBots Robotic Camp, held on campus June 9-13. Students interviewed young robotics campers as they put together their very own six-degrees-of-freedom robotic arm.

THSPA Director and Lipscomb Communications Associate Professor Jimmy McCollum said the stories and photos gathered from the robotics camp will be published on Lipscomb’s student news website, Lumination Network.

“In the past, students would write feature stories about each other, but the stories wouldn’t go anywhere. So I thought, ‘What if we could deputize these campers and make them Lumination reporters?’ McCollum said.

With the permission of Lumination editor-in-chief Cory Woodroof and robotics camp coordinator Greg Nordstrom, associate professor of engineering, J-campers were able to get a small taste of real-life reporting, breaking up into teams of three or four to gather quotes and pictures to put together stories and videos.

Of the 11 campers, five are from Memphis inner city schools, able to attend the camp through funds provided by the Memphis Reach grant. Other students came from Nashville, Hendersonville and East Hickman County.

“For many of these students, this is their first time on a college campus,” McCollum said. “These kids get to be immersed in the college experience for a while. They get a nice taste of what college is about – the roommates, cafeteria food and college atmosphere.”

McCollum said almost every year, at least one J-camper ends up enrolled at Lipscomb.

Student Victoria Curry, a rising junior from Hunters Lane High School in Davidson County, said she learned a lot about journalism.

“Coming into this, I knew journalism was what I wanted to do, but there was a lot I needed to learn about and we don’t have much at our high school,” Curry said. “I’ve learned a lot more about interviewing and news writing.”

The camp also featured sessions on Photoshop, news writing, design and photography. Erin Turner, former J-camper and a Lipscomb rising sophomore, led a session on photography. Turner is also the current staff photographer and assistant managing editor for Lumination Network.

“It was neat to come back as a session leader this year after attending J-Camp as a camper last year,” Turner said. “Shifting positions was eye-opening. I really enjoy teaching others about photography because I know what it’s like on the other end.”

“We really want to expose these kids to what good storytelling is, how to improve writing, photography and video, and just give them a taste of what multimedia storytelling is,” McCollum said.

For more information about Lipscomb’s journalism camp, log onto