The New England Center for Investigative Reporting recently caught up with our Summer Journalism Workshop alum Zoe, a senior at Staples High School in Connecticut. A 2014 participant in our program, Zoe is headed to USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, where she’ll major in journalism. Her recent feature, Parkour: a sport with no boundaries, won a youth journalism award from Youth Journalism International. Read her story, and then check out our brief interview with Zoe about her reporting, her experience with NECIR, and her advice for future participants.
NECIR: Can you tell us about your recent feature story on parkour? How did you come up with the idea? What excited you about it?
Zoe: We came up with the idea because we really wanted to think outside of the box. We wanted to write something different and something interesting and something that could go along with interesting graphics, too. It was exciting to us because it’s such a unique sport that so many people don’t know much about. We thought it was cool that we could expose our readers to something new and so cool.
NECIR: Did anything surprise you about what you learned about it?
Zoe: Something that surprised me was how often these kids practiced parkour. They were at the gym for hours and hours each day!
NECIR: What techniques or skills did you use in your reporting for this piece that you can trace back to your summer experience with NECIR?
Zoe: Something I learned at NECIR is to always do interviews in person if you can and also always get a feel for the situation if that’s possible. So my partner and I went to the parkour gym and we sat in on a class and we spoke to people there and I think through that, we were able to write a better article.
NECIR: How would you describe your time in Boston on our investigative workshop?
Zoe: I really enjoyed my time in Boston at the workshop. It was really great to learn from professionals and to be given advice on my work from real journalists.
NECIR: What are you up to now? What’s next for you as a young journalist?
Zoe: My term as Editor-in-Chief of my school newspaper, Inklings, just ended and next year, I’m actually going to be attending University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and I’ll be majoring in journalism! I just won an award actually for this article from Youth Journalism International, too, for first place in feature writing.
NECIR: What sort of advice do you have for those considering the training program, or for those preparing for the program?
Zoe: I would like to tell anyone considering or planning on attending this program that you will get out what you put in, and that’s true of anything in life as well.