Welcoming young reporters to the newsroom

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, September 23, 2017
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The Wise County Messenger has partnered again with student journalists for a program called “Youth Spoken.” As the name implies, it will offer young people a voice on the pages of the Messenger.

That voice could be in the form of a guest column. It could be a personality profile. Or it could be an in-depth feature or research project. It could even be photos or video produced by the students.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

The work may appear anywhere in the newspaper – including the front page, opinion page, sports page or our All Around Wise section. Whenever we publish an article, column, photo or video from students participating in Youth Spoken, you’ll see a graphic like the one that accompanies the stories below.

The purpose of Youth Spoken is to give these talented young people additional experience writing for a newspaper and a broader audience. Plus, it gives the public a chance to see what issues are important to the young people of our county.

This program is especially important to me because this is exactly how I got my start as a reporter. When I was a student at Alvord High School, my English teacher approached Messenger Publisher Roy Eaton about establishing a mentorship program for me so I could learn what it takes to be a reporter and gain real-world experience in the process. We didn’t have a journalism program at AHS, so this was my one shot before college to try my hand at reporting and writing.

For reasons I’ll never know, but deeply appreciate, Roy agreed. He took a chance on me, providing invaluable experience that put me ahead of the game in college and helped build a career I love.

It’s a gift I hope to pass on to other aspiring reporters and writers. Whether the news is in print, online or one day telepathically communicated, the work will still require trained, trustworthy journalists with a gift for storytelling, which is the foundation of our newsroom and in turn, the Youth Spoken program.

Our current participants are both juniors at Decatur High School and eager to get started. They’ve both introduced themselves in columns on this page and are already brainstorming for future assignments.

I look forward to sharing their work with you, our readers, and encourage you to welcome them to the Messenger family.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.

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