Eighteen high school journalism students from Alabama and Georgia will live on campus and learn from advanced journalism students, top educators and seasoned journalists during the 24th annual Multicultural Journalism Workshop, July 8-18.
And this year, says Dr. Edward Mullins, who has been on the workshop staff since its beginning, they will become staff members of a regularly published newspaper and related website.
"We have another great group of kids coming in," Mullins said, "and we have an established newspaper and website ready when they are."
The newspaper is The West End Journal, a project of Stillman College and UA's Center for Community-Based Partnerships, where Mullins works as a volunteer.
"From the first day on campus, students will write, shoot, edit, post and stream content," said Amanda Brozana, a Stillman College faculty member who also serves as publisher of West End Journal and WestEndJournal.Com.
Many of the students bring experience in scholastic journalism, but some will be writing for publication for the first time, she said.
In the fall, the workshop students will be entering grades 9, 10, 11, 12 and first year of college.
Under the direction of faculty, visiting professionals and experienced college students, the students will also produce a news broadcast using the modern labs and studios of the UA College of Communication and Information Sciences, a national leader in the discipline.
UA alumni, high school media advisers, newspaper editors and broadcasters nominated the students who made the final cut.
"The long-term success of this program has led us to organize a 25th reunion of past students and faculty of the workshop," Mullins said.
Jannell McGrew, a former daily newspaper state legislative reporter who as a student was president of the Capstone Association of Black Journalists, is working with Assistant Dean Caryl Cooper, adviser of CABJ and chair of the MJW Advisory Committee, and Marie Parsons, MJW co-founder and Advisory Committee member, to organize the 2008 event.
The reunion will be in spring 2008 and the 25th workshop July 13-23, Mullins said.
In addition to studying all forms of journalism, students take field trips to area newspapers and historic sites such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
The workshop is free. Students share a UA dorm room, eat in UA dining halls and use other facilities of the 23,000-student campus.
"With hundreds of students from past workshops choosing to attend UA over other colleges, MJW has proven to be a good recruiting tool," said Mullins, "but our main purpose is to get more people of color and more Americans from all walks of life into the journalism profession, which is so important to democracy."
"Since its inception in 1984, more than 1,800 students have benefited from various parts of our comprehensive multicultural program," said Cooper. "The workshop is one way we recognize our responsibility to build a strong student body and mass media."
"Every year we make special preparations to ensure that our participants get a true taste of what it's like to be a college student and a journalist," said Mullins. "We hope that after 10 days in the workshop, many of these students will be motivated to pursue journalism as a profession. We are very proud of our program, which has become a national leader in introducing students to journalism."
Major donors to the program over the years have included the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Gannett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Freedom Forum, Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation, Alabama Broadcasters Association, The Tuscaloosa News, The Press-Register (Mobile), Cox Radio of Birmingham, and Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.