After five weeks of endless questions with guest speakers, chats about Olivia Rodrigo over Slack, and double-checking if your mic was muted on Zoom, the 2021 cohort of the Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP) completed its second virtual summer. Asking questions by day, and laughing together by night, PSJP students not only broadened their knowledge of journalism, but also created life-long connections in a newfound, online family.
Using digital platforms had its inevitable challenges: internet connectivity issues, navigating time zones, and Zoom fatigue. Many students also juggled family commitments, jobs, internships, and summer classes. Throughout it all, PSJP students flourished, effectively balancing a multitude of tasks.
We were fearless when questioning politicians in virtual press conferences. Students asked hard-hitting questions on topics ranging from immigration to anti-racist education that stunned speakers. We engaged with Princeton professors through
interactive discussions and attended workshops that explored various forms of journalism, from covering food to conspiracy theories. No matter the unpredictable adventure that awaited every week, each Zoom call was a learning experience for both the speaker and student. After each session, students would leave with a new-found understanding of journalism.
As a collective, we learned that journalism is more than just writing, but also a desire to listen and learn. No matter our prior experience with journalism, we all gained an understanding of the power of journalism as a gateway to igniting change. We
were introduced to ideas like Critical Race Theory, drag queens, and the intersection of food and culture. Throughout it all, we learned how to be open-minded and bring creative perspectives into our writing.
Yet the most engaging aspect of the program was the community that kept 40 students across the United States eager to learn. Zoom chats would move a mile a minute, causing joy among students, staff, and guests. Whether it was hilarious remarks or positive affirmations from students, the love and laughs were felt despite the distance.
Between arranging Zoom calls outside of PSJP programming, or creating a petition for a deadline extension, we channeled our empowerment from the program to make our voices heard and create unforgettable memories. On behalf of all PSJP students this
summer, we thank the persistence of the staff and the enthusiasm of our guest speakers. Every lecture and workshop encouraged us to view the world differently with new perspectives. Moving forward, we will use the knowledge we gained from PSJP to not only reimagine the future of journalism, but also to excel in all aspects of life. Miles apart, connected forever.