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‘Slack Never Slacking’: Parting thoughts on the Summer Journalism Workshop

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At the start of this program, an undeniable sense of uncertainty shrouded us. We were concerned that the virtual nature of The Stanford Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop would make us feel disconnected, and we had doubts about learning journalism over Zoom. 

However, 32 articles and one podcast later, our fears have been assuaged. Through Kahoot games and Skribbl.io matches, goofy ice breakers and a Slack channel flooded with party blob emojis, we formed a community whose support was tangible even through the screens of our computers. 

Lectures, guest speakers and workshops have played a key role in teaching us about college and professional journalism. This incredible experience would not have been possible without the efforts of the amazing editorial team. 

This program provided us with something to look forward to during shelter-in-place, gifted us with skills and confidence and, above all, left us with a journalistic fervor to write with purpose and share stories that need to be heard. 

From, the members of “Slack Never Slacking”

Agnes: If I’m going to be honest, I was nervous to be a part of The Daily’s summer program. I barely had any journalism experience, besides having my own podcast, and most participants I knew were part of my school’s newspaper and various magazines. 

How was I supposed to learn about writing a lede or sourcing over Zoom? How was I supposed to bond with people I would never meet with in person? Despite the program being virtual, I was impressed by the collaborative environment.  

In the end, I was able to write two articles and publish a podcast. I’m proud of myself for trying something new this summer, and along the way, I realized that journalism isn’t as scary as it seems. I really enjoyed the past eight weeks, and I’ll miss everyone in our beat “Slack Never Slacking.” 

Arya: As someone with little past experience, not once did I believe that the field of journalism was so intricate and developed and something I would come to be so passionate about.  

The most important lesson I learned was from my failures. I experienced a number of ghosted emails, an array of unsaved drafts and even a couple of cancelled interviews. Though it was a setback for my personal goals to write more articles and create multimedia pieces, the experience gave me a reality check on what journalists go through every day. 

Overall, I am extremely grateful to have been accepted into such an incredible program that truly helped establish my passion for writing, reporting and journalism! 

Chloe: If you asked me before this program if I could bond with complete strangers over Zoom, I would have looked at you dubiously and shaken my head. However, I always found myself enjoying the conversations I had, whether they were with a source or a fellow beat member. It was refreshing to see new faces and write articles that were truly meaningful. 

Personally, I had a lot of challenges with people not responding to my emails. Potential sources repeatedly turned into dead ends, scheduled interviews fell through and my visions for articles were forced to adapt continuously. But I learned that when you are facing hardships, especially regarding journalism, you always have to push yourself forward (as cliche as that sounds). 

Overall, this program made me feel like I was contributing to the betterment of the media, that I had a voice and that I had power. 

Diana: Although I have written for a college newspaper before, The Daily is something special. There is a good-hearted air that warms our discussions, and a collective spirit that energizes our reporting. This environment may seem organic, but it’s the fruit of real effort, through socials, breakout rooms and group simulations. The feedback from editors was always focused and clear, providing proper advice to lift our writing to the next level. I never felt dismayed by these revisions, because the space was secure and nurturing. 

This special community allowed me to realize that the world is rife with people like me. The ability to understand each other’s struggles and help each other with advice and funny rejoinders is the most gratifying thing of all. 

Elizabeth: From the very moment I shakily moved my cursor to open the email that determined how I would spend my summer up until the very last week of this internship, I have been continuously enthralled and reinvigorated by my experiences working with The Daily. These past eight weeks have been a dream. 

Through this program, I learned how to properly conduct interviews, structure articles, work on tight deadlines and overcome the anxiety of interviewing people. I extend a sincere thank you and a virtual smile to all those who made this program possible — my desk editor Ellie, for encouraging my ambition; the managing editors, for viewing my work and holding lectures; and my beat members — I will miss you all!

Thanks to The Stanford Daily, I will continue dreaming, and one day, fulfill my passion to have a career in journalism that my editors and program leaders have instilled in me. 

Gaby: Being a part of The Stanford Daily’s summer program has been one of the highlights of my year. When I first applied, I was nervous I would be rejected because the articles I had submitted were over a year old. 

It was nerve-racking to write my first article for The Daily, especially since it was breaking news. However, with the help of my editors, I was able to navigate the intricacies of writing a sensitive story, and I am so proud of the work I have produced. 

This experience has given me something irreplaceable and prepared me for my future endeavors as I enter a college newsroom this fall. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a journalist and how to navigate interviews, approach journalism in different ways and gain an understanding of how important this profession is, now more than ever. 

Mira: When I reapplied to The Daily’s summer program, I was a little hesitant at first. I hadn’t written a single news article since last year, and I was worried that news would be the only focus of the program. I decided to apply again, because doing this program would be better than being bored all day during summer. That was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made recently. 

It was a nice surprise when I realized that the editors at The Daily didn’t expect us to be familiar with writing news articles. Soon, my fear of writing a really terrible article and receiving harsh edits on it, as silly as it sounds, disappeared. Most importantly, though, the weekly beat meetings were refreshing because social interactions just haven’t been the same since the start of this pandemic.

Sonali: I am so grateful that I was a part of The Stanford Daily’s summer program because it was truly the best part of my year. This program helped me figure out that I want to pursue journalism in college. 

More than that, I rediscovered my passion for writing. There were times when I felt overwhelmed and anxious about writing my articles wrong, but with help from my DE, I figured it out and pushed myself to keep going. I can’t wait to take all of the ideas that I learned and implement them at my high school newspaper. I am so lucky to have been a part of this program, and I am glad that I took a chance and applied. 

Contact Agnes Mar at agnes.mar ‘at’ hotmail.com, Arya Agrawal at dallas.arya ‘at’ gmail.com, Chloe Fidler at chloeafidler4 ‘at’ gmail.com, Diana Piper at dianapiper ‘at’ gmail.com, Elizabeth Wilson at elwilson ‘at’ s.sfusd.edu, Gabriela Calvillo at gabrielacalvillo1019 ‘at’ gmail.com, Mira Ravi at mira.ravi6 ‘at’ gmail.com, and Sonali Muthukrishnan at sonali.muthukrishnan ‘at’ gmail.com.

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Agnes Mar is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.
Arya Agrawal is a high schooler writing as part of the The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.
Chloe Fidler is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.
Diana Piper is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop.
Elizabeth Wilson is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.
Gabriela Calvillo is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop.
Mira Ravi is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.
Sonali Muthukrishnan is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop.