Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


Senn Students Visit SOC

Senn Students Visit SOC

Thirty students from Chicago’s Senn High School received hands-on instruction in digital journalism during a recent visit to Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication.

The students are part of Senn’s Digital Journalism program, a four-year International Baccalaureate curriculum designed to teach skills in reporting, writing and producing stories through digital technology.   

Loyola’s School of Communication, with financial support from the McCormick Foundation, has been partnering with Senn for the past two years. School of Communication faculty and students regularly meet with teachers and students at Senn, helping with curriculum development, classroom instruction and equipment and technological support.

The field trip to Loyola’s School of Communication offered Senn students exposure to college-level instruction in digital journalism, including writing stories for the Internet, and delivering their stories on camera in the school’s convergence studio.

In one exercise, Senn students gathered information on a Chicago Blackhawks playoff game, and wrote a 100-word news story for an online blog titled the Senn Sentinel. The students also used Twitter to tweet about the game at Senn Sentinel @ Twitter.

The students also wrote their own reviews of movies and television shows and read their copy on camera while sitting behind the anchor desk in the School of Communication’s convergence studio. Students also had the opportunity to operate cameras, work a teleprompter and direct the activities in the studio’s control room. 

“It was powerful to see the students run a broadcast studio with little assistance from adults. There was a gleam in their eyes in actually ‘doing’ the news rather than just reading about it or watching it,” said Michael Cullinane, the lead journalism instructor at Senn.

“My experience going to the Loyola was not only fun, but also taught me more about what it’s like to be a journalist,” said Senn sophomore Isaac Martinez, 15. “Being in the studio showed me what exactly happens behind the screen when watching news. Teaching us how Twitter and how other websites are used when working in the field was enjoyable. I would definitely consider doing that for a living.”

Jennifer Okoro, 16, a Senn sophomore, agreed.

“I was a little reluctant on going. But when we got there and they told us what we were going to do I was more than excited,” Okoro said. “I really want to go back again. I even want to reconsider my profession in life.”

Don Heider, Dean of Loyola’s School of Communication, said the field trip was a high point of the Loyola-Senn partnership.

“We have loved partnering with Senn on the school’s digital journalism program,” Heider said. “Having students come to our building to use the digital studio and get instruction from our faculty is just one way Loyola and Senn are working together to help these students get excited about the future of journalism.”

Check out some of the work students produced here.