ASU and Arizona Republic host journalism innovation camp for teens


Fourteen high school students from Arizona spend two weeks imagining how quality journalism might be offered in the future.

Storytelling can take the form of podcasts or games. Immersive techniques like augmented reality and 360-degree videos will likely play a role. New delivered on your Oculus headset? Why not?

The 7-year camp is sponsored by The Arizona Republic/ and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Campers are returning in person this year after a COVID-19 hiatus.

“Young people are so creative, especially if we get out of the way and let them do their thing,” said Retha Hill, who leads Cronkite’s innovation lab. “I’m glad camp is back in person. I love seeing the light bulb go out as they come up with ideas and figure out how to bring those ideas to fruition.”

Innovation Camp 2021: Students show energy, enthusiasm for the First Amendment and storytelling

An educational grant from The Republic’s Season for Sharing initiative makes the camp free for students, who are a mix of digitally-minded, journalist-leaning juniors and seniors.

“We want the camp to be accessible to as many students as possible,” said Republic/azcentral editor Greg Burton. “Their energy and insights are key to delivering strong local news coverage in innovative ways in the future.”

Students live in ASU’s downtown dorms, enjoy access to Cronkite’s experts and state-of-the-art news production facilities – and enjoy outings for a Diamondbacks game, the Apple Store and Wonderspaces in Scottsdale Fashion Square.

In 2019, the students produced a project about the Garfield neighborhood of Phoenix which was published on The neighborhood near the city center is struggling with gentrification issues.

The project included game and graphic novel aspects.

Alexandra Watts, producer of the Republic podcast, and producer of azcentral’s bioscience podcast, The Lab, is attending this year’s camp. Megan Finnerty, founder of Arizona Storytellers, former Republic and USA Today Network reporter, who now works for Vox Media, also leads a session.

Season for Sharing raised and distributed $1.8 million to 164 Arizona nonprofits in the latest campaign. Grants are awarded to organizations that stimulate education, help the elderly, and support children and families in difficulty.

Stacy Sullivan is The Republic’s Director of Community Relations. Contact him at 602-444-8749 or [email protected] Season for Sharing donations are accepted year-round at or by texting “SHARING” to 91999.


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