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C-Hit Journalism Camp a Hit With Local Students

High School students from Mansfield, Tolland and beyond took part in the week-long writing-intensive workshop held at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.

Budding writers and journalists looking to brush up on their skills and acquire new ones, need look no further than the Connecticut Health I-Team High School Workshop.

Reporters and editors from C-Hit, a news health and safety Web site based in New Haven, recently gave local students the chance to hone their craft in summer workshops led by award-winning journalists.

In Storrs, 15 students spent a week at the campus for an intensive, eight-hour-per-day, five-day workshop.

“Not everybody in this program wants to be a journalist,” C-Hit Co-founder Lynne DeLucia said. “They may change their mind at some point and want to do it, but for us, we see this as an opportunity to help them boost some skills that they need when they’re in high school too.”

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The program's goal, DeLucia said, is to expose students to journalism by sharpening their writing and research skills.

Patrick Cox, a soon-to-be senior at , attended the camp with his cousin Johnny Gustafson, a sophomore at E.O. Smith.

Cox, who is interested in radio journalism, said he was inspired by the work of his aunt and uncle, who are journalists. “It’s sort of in our family and we just wanted to check it out,” Cox said of the workshop. “I want to come out of this being a better writer,” he said.

Other students who attended the camp – which was also held for one week at Qunnipiac University – hail from all over the state, DeLucia said. The program, founded by DeLucia, former assistant managing editor of the Hartford Courant and Lisa Chedekel, a former reporter for The Courant, is currently in its second year.

Workshops are also taught by instructors such as Kate Farrish, a journalism instructor at UConn and contributor to the C-Hit investigative team, with guest appearances by reporters from The Courant, Valley Independent Sentinel and WNPR, among other news outlets.

“We wanted to get involved training the next generation of journalists,” DeLucia said.

The workshop is set up so that students are able to tour a local news outlet and conduct an investigative project – from athletic injuries to the juvenile justice system to teacher contracts - that will ultimately be published in their high school’s newspaper or on their school’s Web site, DeLucia said.

The camp also gives students a glimpse into college life. DeLucia said 10 of the students made arrangements to live on the UConn campus while attending the workshop.

“It takes a lot of kids out of their daily environment, puts them on a college campus and gives them a feel for what it’s really like to be in college,” DeLucia said.

graduate will be entering UConn’s journalism and communications program in the fall, and said the camp gave her confidence in her decision to pursue journalism. “It’s been really informative and I’m just glad I came,” she said.

Fellow Tolland High alumna Victoria Powers echoed Gottier’s sentiments.

“We’ve learned from a lot of experienced journalists, which is a really good opportunity,” Powers said. “I feel like now, I’ll been able to use the skills they’ve talked about and apply it to real life,” she said. Powers plans to attend the University of Hartford in the fall.

Overall, DeLucia said she wanted students to walk away from the camp having learned something that they can apply to their every-day lives.

“I hope that they have more of a love for writing and that they’re a little bit more curious,” DeLucia said. “I hope we’ve peaked their curiosity a little bit more, and that they’ve really sharpened their skills at how to use the Internet to their advantage, even when they do their schoolwork," she said.

To learn more about the workshop, including how to apply for next summer, visit c-hit.newhavenindependent.org.

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