Writing stories, taking notes, listening to others and building character. Those are just some of the many things participants did during The Roanoke Times' annual Minority Journalism Workshop.
From June 20 to 25, a group of eight Roanoke and New River valley high school students worked closely together. They learned the ropes of journalism from professors at Washington and Lee University, and by speaking with Roanoke Times reporters and editors.
They also observed a court case, visited Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital and participated in writing exercises.
The program began in 1983 under then-president and publisher Walter Rugaber. He founded the program based on a similar one at the Greensboro News & Record, one of the company's sister papers, in Greensboro, N.C.
Debbie Meade, current president and publisher of The Roanoke Times, said that the workshop is a way to encourage young people, especially of color, to get a look at journalism firsthand.
This year's students were from many different backgrounds. Ethnicity is not the only diversity factor considered in the application process; the program aims to include students with differences in other life experiences.
Though not every participant this year wants to become a journalist, the students do have career goals, including engineering and psychiatry.
Journalism gives students the opportunity to uncover the truth while meeting people in new places, which can be exciting, students said.
"There's always going to be news," said Todd Jackson, a Roanoke Times metro editor. "There's always something new and something in the community that other people need to know about."
Every year, the workshop is organized by a volunteer committee of news staffers. The program is free for participating students, and includes lunches and necessary transportation as well.
To see a blog about what the group did this year, visit www.roanoke.com/mjw. For more information, call Kathy Lu, workshop coordinator, at 981-3224.