Ballenger Highway

Community correspondent Amina Smith shares her experience in Flintside's journalism fellowship

FLINT, Michigan — As an inner-city youth from Flint, it is always very inspiring to see older Flintstones who are doing the exact things that you’ve always dreamed of doing since you were little. That is why for me, it is always a thrilling and pleasurable experience to be involved in anything that I can be when it comes to the Flintside publication.

A couple of months ago, I decided to reach out to the editor of Flintside, Tia Scott, in hopes that there would possibly be some kind of internship or hands-on experience that I could get under my belt as a college student.

To my content, I was thrilled when she revealed that Flintside would be hosting a journalism fellowship focused on getting residents of the Ballenger Highway neighborhood to become equipped with basic journalism skills so they could go out and report on stories that were for them and by them.

When she asked if I was interested in this opportunity, I leaped at the chance and anticipated the start of the course that would be held via Zoom with three other participants and an instructor. 

When it came time to start last Fall, the course held about four of us patrons and was directed by Flintside's previous editor Patrick Hayes. During this course, we were introduced to basic journalistic aspects like how to approach and build a working relationship with our subjects, the six key elements of a story (who, what, when, where, how, and why), and also how important it is to facilitate a relationship between yourself and others who may be working on a story with you but in other positions (ex. photo-journalists).

Mr. Hayes did an absolutely amazing job at providing in-depth explanations to all of our questions and making sure that we had a clear understanding of every single core subject of our class every week. But, more importantly, Mr. Hayes did a wonderful job making the class feel fun and engaging. He allowed us to interact with each other and share our own stories/tales that we could relate to whatever concept we were examining.

During the course, one of my favorite moments would be our last week when we had a presentation given to us by award-winning photojournalist Jenifer Veloso. It was amazing to hear her talk so passionately about her field and how she came into her craft. She made sure to remind us that careers and passions don’t always end up beginning in the first place that you start and that it is totally okay to venture out and explore your interests.

Overall, I am very grateful to both Ms. Scott and Mr. Hayes for allowing me to be a part of such an informative, fun, and fulfilling experience. I cherished my time in this course and I look forward to seeing what next endeavor I can be a part of with the Flintside publication. 
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