Cougars spend 14 days at Times institute
Three UH print journalism majors spent the first two weeks of January in Arizona, learning from the staff of the New York Times in what they described as a “journalist’s boot camp.”
Seniors Louis Casiano, Anna Gallegos and junior Audris Ponce, along with 21 other students, put out a paper covering local news in Tucson every day of the two-week program under the guidance and instruction of New York Times and Boston Globe editors and writers, Casiano said.
“When I got there, I was kind of nervous,” Ponce, news editor of on-campus newspaper The Venture said. “But (the staff) treated us with so much respect, and they were so approachable and down-to-earth.”
The students had to work 14 to 15-hour days in the newsroom set up at the University of Arizona.
“I am so grateful for the experience, but I was tired all the time,” Casiano said. “You have to be prepared to really work. It’s not a vacation.”
Fortunately, he found the experience to be “well worth it.”
“I really felt like a journalist. It felt so right,” Casiano said, describing a protest that he covered with a fellow student in which demonstrators had broken through a barricade in order to confront the police.
Ponce said the New York Times Student Journalism Institute program was a great learning experience,.
“I really grew, not just as a student, but as a journalist,” she said.
Gallegos, editor-in-chief of The Venture, heard about the program through the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, she said, and encouraged her fellow students to apply.
The program takes place annually during the first two weeks of January. Each year, the location of the program switches between the University of Arizona in Tucson and Florida International University in Miami.
The program paid for all of the students’ expenses.
“If there was anything we needed, they took care of us,” Ponce said.
Casiano offers this advice to the students who go next January:
“Be prepared to get edited and be prepared to take criticisms. It gets better.”
To view the students’ work online, go to http://tucson12.nytimes-institute.com.