Lincoln High School’s Journalism Academy for many years has provided students with a learning experience much like journalism in the real world. Students are expected to put together a school paper each month and keep the Lincoln High School news site updated. Other students, in Broadcast, learn what it’s like to make videos pertaining to news, again in a work-like environment. Additionally, students are given special opportunities to speak with journalists who make/ made a living out of their work. Most recently, journalism students were given an opportunity to meet Cheryl Hatch.
Cheryl Hatch is a journalist and documentary photographer who has made a name for herself in the journalism world with her camera by reporting on the aftermath of war in Liberia, Somalia, Iraq, Eritrea, and Afghanistan. This has put her on the battlefield with her camera, proving she is unafraid to go as far as she needs to for an accurate report. She is also recognized for her photographs which have been displayed internationally including in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the Sony Gallery in Cairo, Egypt, and the Leica Gallery in Solms, Germany. Her work has also been featured in newspapers and magazines such as Time, The New York Times, and Paris Match. She has taught as a professor in journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Allegheny College, and Guilford College. In November of 2016, she gave a TED Talk titled “A Journalist’s Guide to Finding Your Way.” Naturally, Lincoln was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear her teach.
Immediately when she walked into the room, the journalism students were shocked by her friendliness and enthusiasm to be there. Her ability to connect so easily with people made the experience instantly enjoyable. She soon started talking about her experience as a journalist and what a work day was like for her. “I liked how expressive she was, and I liked how her experience with reporting in the real world, taught her what she taught us,” says Jakob Potemri, a current student in Advanced Journalism.
Hearing from someone with so much experience inspired the students and showed them how hands-on journalism really is. She showed students a video from her time in war in Eritrea and a picture she took in Egypt and went on to explain how she had to make a path for herself and make things happen for herself. She also talked about her experience as a professor and how she is able to get connections that she needs.
Ms. Hatch was able to demonstrate to students that journalism was not all about sitting at a desk and typing up papers and very much about making connections and getting your hands dirty to report back to the world. At the end of her time, she sent the students out to talk to someone they hadn't met before and take good photos of each other with captions about the person to match. “I learned that you can’t learn much about anything unless you seek it out for yourself. Also, if you can’t get an interview the first time, always keep asking for it!” says Potemri.
The academy recognizes the importance of meeting someone like Cheryl Hatch. When she taught the students how to take good photos and how to make connections, they were thankful for the experience. One of the three editors-in-chief of the school paper, Jessica Iasimone, felt that Hatch taught her useful tips for both taking good photos and getting where she needs to be for a report. “Meeting journalists like Cheryl Hatch is a great opportunity for journalism students,” she says. “If they are interested in becoming a journalist in the future, being introduced to journalists such as Hatch who are successful and have worked many years in this field gives them the experience to see exactly what comes with being a journalist and it will greater prepare them for what is expected.”
Iasimone, along with the rest of the academy, was extremely thankful for the experience they were given and how much it really taught everyone. Speaking for the journalism academy Iasimone says to summarize her experience, “This whole experience has taught me more about photojournalism and deepened my appreciation for it. She is an inspiration to young and upcoming journalists.”