Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By Katlyn Campbell
When Tara Schumal was accepted to attend this year’s IPF-EIU Summer Journalism Camp, she didn’t jump up and down — only because she was with a friend who hadn’t been accepted.
But Schumal was excited to attend.
“I really just wanted to improve my writing style,” she said.
Like most other people attending the camp, Schumal has worked on her school newspaper for a while, so she wasn’t nervous when she found out she had to run around campus and interview random people for a story.
“People can’t laugh at you if you laugh with them,” she said.
Going into the second week of camp, Schumal interned at the Herald & Review in Decatur and, reflecting on the experience, she says she loved it.
“You didn’t feel like ants there,” she said. “They treated you with such respect that you never felt like you were in the way. I just wish the internship was longer.”
Schumal’s favorite thing about the camp was the people she met who taught her things she didn’t know coming into the camp, as well as the campers she could see herself writing alongside someday.
“They’ve all taught me so much,” she said.
Coming out of this experience, Schumal plans on exploring the different types of journalism she has learned about, adding, “I’ve also learned to be more organized, unlike some people.”
Junior Kristyna Kresic was also excited when she found out she had been accepted to live on the EIU campus for two weeks for journalism camp.
“I wanted this camp to open my eyes to the world of journalism,” she said.
And now, two weeks later, she claims it did just that.
Kresic wasn’t nervous coming into this camp. She said she is “very personable” and had worked with many strangers before, volunteering at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Her favorite piece she wrote while at camp was her internship story.
“I got some awesome feedback and loved that my piece would actually be published in the Taylorville Breeze-Courier,” she said.
Kresic wrote a piece on a Frisco locomotive that was being refurnished.
Reflecting on her experience Kresic says her favorite part of the camp was meeting the people, from mentors to fellow campers. She says she’s made friendships that will last a lifetime.
Kresic plans on being the page designer and staff reporter of her high school’s newspaper next year as well as working on the yearbook.
Marcello Piccinini was happy he got accepted to attend the camp. “I put a lot of hard work into my submissions,” he said.
Although he was happy to be coming to the journalism camp, he said “I was also kind of scared of how far away I would be from people I know.”
But he is now glad he drove three and a half hours to come to EIU for the camp.
On his experience interviewing people in Teutopolis, Piccinini said, “I was kind of wary to stop people in the middle of what they were doing. I guess I was scared of feeling awkward while doing it.”
But after doing it, Piccinini was glad to have stepped out of his comfort zone to get a good story.
Piccinini’s favorite piece to write was his internship story on a D-Day veteran, at The Journal Gazette-Times Courier in Mattoon.
He got to see pictures from the man’s service and learn what he went through during World War II.
Piccinini enjoyed working at his internship because he got to run around and gather stories with the people that worked at the JG-TC and because “they gave me a new experience as well as a taste of what real journalism was like.”
Overall, Piccinini still wants to be a journalist because he learned at the journalism camp how interesting the field of journalism is and what’s it like to cover a story.
Derby Roan was happy to be accepted to the camp, but when she found out she was accepted, rather than jump up and down she had to fill out the paperwork allowing her to come because she hadn’t already done so.
Roan was looking forward to the experience she could gain and the knowledge she’d be able to take with her back to high school for her journalism classes.
Unlike most people who came here a little nervous about leaving home, Mattoon native Roan was anything but.
“I wasn’t nervous because I knew I probably wouldn’t know any of the people here,” she said.
Roan’s favorite piece she wrote was her profile story on fellow camper Naihal Wajid. It was the first story the campers were assigned when they came here for their first week. Roan enjoyed this piece most because “everything was new and we were all working hard to put our best feet forward.”
Roan spent her internship at the Herald & Review in Decatur.
She liked interning there because “all of the workers were welcoming and willing to talk.”
Her favorite part about working her internship mostly in the courthouse was that she got to talk with the coroner.
Roan’s favorite part of the camp was how organized it was, and counselors Miranda Hankins and Kevin Hall.
“They acted like parents to us,” she said. “We were literally calling them ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ by the end of the camp.”
Although Roan enjoyed her experience at the Journalism camp, she said the camp reaffirmed her belief that she was not made for the journalism world.
“I love the social aspect of journalism. You have to learn to work with and around other people. I’d like to hone that skill,” she said. “Still, I can’t see myself in the high-stress, fast-paced world of journalism.”