Journalism Students Focus on Powerful Storytelling

Upper School boys hone their interviewing and writing skills to highlight underrepresented voices in the community.
Who doesn’t love a good story? Powerful storytelling can build connections, create a deeper understanding of an issue, and sometimes even change perspectives. 

Thursday, Upper School journalism students gathered to discuss their most recent project: writing a profile on an StC faculty member, student, or alumnus from an underrepresented group so that others might better understand them.

The boys have a few specific requirements to meet. They must create a concise, compelling narrative that explores their subject’s experiences, identify the most interesting pull-out quote from their interview, and take a portrait photograph of the person in a way that defines their personality. 

Upper School Journalism Teacher Kathleen Thomas led the discussion, and students provided updates on their progress and what they’d learned so far. The conversation focused heavily on the interview process and how to connect and build trust with a subject. “A really important part of interviewing is getting people comfortable,” said Cade Bridges ‘22. “When you’re talking to them face-to-face, it helps warm them to you, relax them, and you then can start asking them questions.”

For Nathan Aschheim '22, this assignment was the first time he’d ever interviewed anyone. “Mrs. Thomas asked us to focus on getting specific stories, so I really tried to focus my questions in order to get important details and a few specific stories about his experiences,” he said. 

The ultimate purpose of the assignment, whether it appears online, in The Pine Needle, or just as a useful class exercise, is to highlight voices that some may overlook. “Things happen all around you every day that you may not be aware of,” said Aschheim. “We need more stories from different perspectives.”