Tag Archives: storytelling

Hands-on Learning in Siouxland, Young Journalists ply their Craft, Orange City

16 Jun

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, left and Micaela, right, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Recently I met two young ladies who were “learning” and expanding their knowledge of journalism, studying at Dordt University in Sioux Center, attending the World Journalism Institute workshop. The workshop gives them “real-life” experiences reporting stories about locals through which they write, photograph, collect audio and video and produce different end projects so they get a taste of what the various mediums are available to today’s journalists. And the institute from what I understand does this through a more Christian perspective, as per a description on the Institute’s website:

“Our mission is to recruit, equip, place and encourage journalists who are Christians. Journalism is a high calling. WJI is concerned with covering news that remembers the needs of the “uns”: the unborn, the uneducated, the unemployed, and the unfashionable. At WJI’s summer course, you will learn how to hone your writing skills for God’s glory. Journalists and editors who’ve spent decades reporting at home and abroad will grow and challenge you. You can actually get paid to write history’s rough draft, and WJI prepares you for that experience. You’ll witness firsthand social and political settings you might never have been able to access otherwise.”

I met the women in Orange City where remnants of the recent Tulip Festival was still evident on a nice, finally, spring day. Rebekah and Micaela had many questions to which I probably only had a few answers and hope my sharing stories and experiences benefited them a little bit.

Families take photos of still blooming tulips at Windmill Park near downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

Tulips still bloom a week after the Tulip Festival in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Students from the workshop were scattered about the region covering stories of interest, and maybe of near interest as I heard of disappointing almost happened stories that fell through and the students were scrambling to fulfill their assignments.

And there were probably other opportunities for stories in Orange City as it seemed especially busy that Saturday morning I visited with them which is a good thing, because I have been there previously when it was more quiet.

A young boy twirls a flag as he walks in downtown Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

A family prepares to take photos of three people inside the Wooden Shoe at Windmill Park in Orange City, Iowa Friday May 24, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

Having previously worked for a few different small community newspapers I always enjoyed doing stories in small towns. Again, getting a chance to learn about a place and its residents and sharing their stories with their neighbors and friends. One never knows who one might meet or what story might unfold if you take the time to listen and ask about people’s experiences. And hopefully these two young women and their colleagues spent a fruitful two weeks learning and refining their own skills and creating the kinds of mistakes one only wants to make once as they strive to become storytellers, better listeners, and empathetic to those entrusting them with shared tales.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participant, Micaela, photographs a subject she and partner Rebekah just interviewed in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

 

World Journalism Institute summer workshop participants Rebekah, right and Micaela, left, prepare their cameras to interview a subject in Orange City, Iowa Saturday May 26, 2019 (PHOTO BY JERRY L MENNENGA©)

A Lively Texas Librarian

26 Nov

Earlier this year I traveled to San Marcos, Texas, where I attended a workshop.  San Marcos is a really nice community with a local university sitting in its midst. Traveling to other places is always nice in that it helps one keep in perspective the place where you live, giving you some comparisons of things you like and maybe don’t like as well. While there, I met a woman who is a librarian with the public library. And a passionate person about reading and storytelling and helping young people develop that interest. Ashley Schimelman grew up in Texas and through her own childhood experience with a local librarian developed a sense of what she wanted to do in life and in her own way, make a difference and help future generations appreciate the written word. Even in one’s own home town you can find such dedicated people pursuing a job they believe is making a difference, and in reality, does make a difference. I hope to find more of these folk so I can share their stories.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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