Summer workshop at St. Thomas for high school journalism students of color

Summer workshop at St. Thomas for high school journalism students of color

Minnesota high school students interested in news reporting and writing are urged to apply for a two-week summer workshop June 17-29 at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, according to Lynda McDonnell, executive director of ThreeSixty, a youth journalism program based at St. Thomas.

The free workshop includes food and lodging on the St. Thomas campus, with a stipend for students with financial need.  Students completing grades nine through 12 this spring are eligible to apply for one of the 16 workshop spots.  The workshop is targeted at students of color in hopes of encouraging greater diversity in the profession.  No prior experience with journalism is necessary.

The workshop also includes an extra week for up to 10 of the students who want additional work in broadcast news. They will commute to campus each day during that week.  Applications for the workshop are available at or by calling (651) 962-5282.  Applications must be postmarked by Sunday, April. 15.

Classes in writing, reporting, photography, layout and design are part of the curriculum.  Each student has a professional reporter/writer as a mentor during the workshop.  The students’ articles are published on special pages in the Minneapolis Star Tribune or the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

In the six years the workshop has been at St. Thomas, nearly 100 students have attended.  A third of those are in college studying journalism, and several will graduate this May and seek their first jobs in newsrooms.  Four graduates of the summer program are studying journalism at St. Thomas on four-year scholarships they won at the workshop.  

Workshop graduates landed summer internships at the Star Tribune, the Washington Post, WCCO-TV News and Fox 9 News.

“This camp really inspired me to write more and think more and explore the world,” said Brittany Kingbird, a 17-year-old senior at Red Lake High School who attended the camp last year. Kingbird recently won the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund prize for the best article produced at journalism workshops across the country.  She will receive a $1,000 scholarship.  Her story was about the higher drowning rates among children of color.

Since its founding as the Urban Journalism Workshop in 1970, ThreeSixty has provided basic journalism training to high school students of color who are interested in journalism careers. Since moving from the University of Minnesota to the University of St. Thomas in 2001, the program has grown from a two-week summer camp funded staffed by volunteers to a year-round program with a small professional staff.

In addition to the summer camp, ThreeSixty sponsors an annual career fair, Saturday workshops and after-school classes on writing and reporting and, a Web site featuring student work.  ThreeSixty also hosts several educational programs at Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.

Sponsors for ThreeSixty include Twin Cities Black Journalists, University of St. Thomas, Star Tribune Foundation, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Target Corp.

Students, parents and teachers with questions about the workshop are asked to contact Lynda McDonnell, (651) 962-5282 or; or David Nimmer, (651) 962-5255 or .