Young journalists share their knowledge with teens in Iowa City


Two Illinois high school students are hosting a nationwide teen journalism workshop, with a session in Iowa City.

Jeff sigmund

The Iowa City Public Library on Monday, September 20, 2021.


High school and young journalists Victoria Feng and Malini Pillai from Illinois share their knowledge in a month-long teen journalism workshop at the Iowa City Public Library.

The workshop, which started on September 13 and will run until October 16, is structured to allow students in grades 6 to 12 to receive training in the basics of journalism. The workshop is designed to meet the needs of each student in the workshop, regardless of their experience.

Feng published works in The New York Times, Wired, and Inside the business community.

Pillai and Feng created the Launch the student press in the spring of 2020, which helps libraries and school districts establish journalism courses and clubs

“We want [workshop participants] to learn the essentials of journalistic writing, but we also hope that they love the subject and want to immerse themselves in it outside of the workshop as well, ”Pillai wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

Feng said she wanted to teach student journalists the basics of reporting and give them the opportunity to learn more about the journalistic process.

“I think journalism is important, especially in the 21st century, because in the last few years there have been so many attacks on fake news and biased media that I think students need to be able to overcome all of this criticism. negative, ”Feng said.

Feng said she chose to bring the workshop to Iowa City because she was aware that the city and the University of Iowa had a long history of strong writing programs.

Pillai said she joined Feng’s Launch Student Press because she saw it as an opportunity to share her love for journalism with others.

“My goal for this workshop is that at the end of the six weeks, students will be able to learn more about the journalistic process, but more importantly, feel empowered to tell stories that they are passionate about,” said Feng.

Pillai said she hopes attendees continue to do journalism after the program ends.

This workshop has been held in Ohio and Georgia, and twice in Illinois.

“I did one of the Chicago Public Library, which was super fun, as well as the Hudson Library this summer,” Feng said.

Victoria Fernandez, Adolescent Services Librarian at the Iowa City Public Library, collaborates with Feng at the workshop. She said that when Feng contacted the library, Fernandez was genuinely interested and impressed with Feng’s work and wanted the workshop to be a resource for teenagers.

The workshop will take place through Zoom, but students will have the option of coming to the Iowa City Public Library to watch the workshop together.

“So the workshop is online, but I’m also in person, so teens have the opportunity to do whatever they feel most comfortable with,” Ferendez said.

Ferendez doesn’t know if the workshop will be held again, she said, but she does anticipate that some sort of writing program will be held again.

At the end of the program, Feng said that she wanted to make a class journal, showing all the articles written by the students.

“Writing a class paper is honestly one of my favorite parts of the process, as students can look at their work and see all the great work that they and their peers have done,” said Feng.


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