This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2015 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop.
By Cassidy Wang, Massachusetts
My passion for telling stories drove me to enter the New England Center for Investigative Reporting summer program with an unwavering eagerness to report on matters I personally care about. There, I was immediately struck by the ambience; there’s something humbling about being in a program full of people who share the same passion and interests.
Each day, the guest speakers and program instructors exposed me to more layers of journalism. I found an activity on news ethics to be particularly engaging; when presented with scenarios of controversial stories, we had to decide in groups whether or not we would publish it – backed up with reasoning. Activities like these challenged me, but at the same time, they really made me think analytically using my journalistic skills.
NECIR also provided me the opportunity to report on issues and interview public figures I normally would not be able to. As a student journalist reporting for a school newspaper, I am sometimes limited to only those within my school community, but at NECIR, my opportunities expanded and were seemingly endless. Along with my workshop peers, I was able to interview citizens from all over the city and ask questions of Felix Arroyo, the Chief of Health and Human Services in Boston.
Meeting and talking with new people has broadened my vision and perspective – both journalistically and personally. Yet, my favorite part of the program has to be all the intriguing stories award-winning watchdog journalists shared with us about their investigative reporting process; I was struck by how unique – and adventurous – each one was. Consequently, I left the program excited, as well as inspired by their curiosity and devotion- the two essential qualities that drive investigative journalists.
With my newfound inspiration and curiosity derived from the workshop, I felt more confident in taking on ‘heavier’ stories for my school newspaper. In particular, I wrote more ‘controversial’ articles, as well as longer, in-depth pieces. NECIR gave me the assurance and stimulus to do so, as I found myself constantly compelled to discover more in each story.
In today’s digital world, the public is demanding for more transparency, proving that investigative reporting is needed now more than ever. The NECIR summer workshop not only supports this much-needed craft, but also revives it by instilling its importance in high schoolers’ minds, who are the future of journalism.