More than 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers representing 36 states registered for Ball State University Department of Journalism’s Summer 2020 Journalism Workshops in the first-ever online only programming of the iconic skills bootcamp.

The on-campus residential workshop moved to a virtual experience after quarantine orders and other mandated precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was 35 free sessions covering topics like reporting basics, writing, photography, digital design, using social media, and design thinking. Participants filled a record-setting 7,000 seats in sessions offered across three weeks.

Dr. Johnny Sparks“Necessity is the mother of invention,” said Johnny Sparks, chair of the Department of Journalism. “COVID-19 required a makeover of Journalism Workshops for Summer 2020. Workshop’s virtual reinvention proved extremely attractive to a new national audience. The format offers a perfect vehicle for middle and high school students across the country to see first-hand the kind of experience they’ll get from a Department of Journalism education.”

Ball State recognized the importance of providing the virtual workshop sessions free-of-charge as many families, teachers and secondary schools face financial hardships during the pandemic.

Ball State’s Journalism Workshops has been offering summer residential workshops for middle and high school students and teachers since 1966. With courses focused on yearbook theme development, journalistic writing and reporting, editorial leadership, and advertising strategies, the workshops have trained and inspired tens of thousands of participants over the years.

Consultations with award-winning high school journalism advisers were made available, as well. The interaction on the virtual classrooms proved that students – in publications classes across the country – are hungry for contact with known professionals in their fields. This year’s workshop presenters ranged from journalism educators to working professionals, on the job, covering stories of COVID-19 heroes to protests over race and equity inclusion.

“In the Department of Journalism, we know that stories better told mean lives better lived,” Sparks said. “We are excited to see what these new storytellers can do to change the world.”

To register, learn more about session offerings, view the schedule and read speaker bios, please visit the Ball State Journalism Workshops website.

Contact info: Brian Hayes, senior lecturer
Department of Journalism
Phone: 765-285-3502