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University of Iowa News Release


June 25, 2007

Middle School Students To Visit UI For Journalism Academy

A group of 36 mostly minority students from Des Moines will visit the University of Iowa on Wednesday, June 27, as part of a summer journalism academy through their school.

The students attend sessions at Harding Middle School three days a week for two weeks, with North High School journalism instructor Lisa Kritchman leading the summer academy, according to Vanessa Shelton, director of summer workshops for the School Journalism and Mass Communication in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition to North High School in Des Moines, the UI also has a summer journalism academy partnership with Central High School in Davenport. The academies are designed to encourage a diverse group of young students to engage in literacy activities, to learn about and consider involvement in journalism in high school and as a career, and to set their sights on a college education.

The Des Moines youngsters will complete an assignment at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center to coincide with the animals theme selected by their lead instructor, Shelton said.

"The students will interview staff at the center and write stories on animals and human/animal relationships, such as how to educate their peers about responsible pet ownership, what animals mean to us, and animal abuse," she said. "Their work will then be published in their own newspaper."

Each summer, academy leaders develop a theme and a curriculum to teach the students basic journalistic reporting, writing, photography, videography and design skills. The students visit educational sites in their cities and on the UI campus, where they cover events for their media projects. The Iowa City visit is designed to inspire the students to attend college, and they will meet with a UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment representative to learn about college preparation.

In 2003, the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication cited the UI's summer journalism academies as the top Innovative Outreach Program conducted nationally by schools of journalism and mass communication.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

CONTACTS: Vanessa Shelton, 319-335-3318,; Writer: Joe Nugent