Students at NBTB are taught by some of the nation’s top journalism educators. They have the opportunity to meet and learn from professional and college media guest speakers. And they practice what they learn using the latest digital tools. Our program blends tried-and-true journalism curricula with 21st century digital literacy and multimedia training.
Our goals are to:
- improve students’ writing and critical thinking skills;
- inspire them to jumpstart or to otherwise improve their schools’ journalism programs — or to join a publication staff in college;
- offer students a chance to experience life on one of the most beautiful university campuses in the world.
We believe that students learn best by doing, and that writing and editing stories works best when students are addressing real world issues for a real audience. We also emphasize the spirit of the newsroom — the ability to learn together, make ethical decisions together, push each other to the highest level, and experience the laughter and fun of true collaboration.
Students in both Year 1 and 2 programs attend morning classes, work on stories during afternoon lab time, and attend guest speaker presentations or special events each evening.
Year 1 program
The goal of our Year 1 program is to teach students the journalism basics that will help them to begin or improve programs at their own high schools. Accordingly, students in our Year 1 program study journalism basics in the morning and put their new knowledge to practice during afternoon clinics and team labs.
Morning class topics include reporting and writing basics; online news and headline writing; social media; hyperlocal reporting; alternative/ short-form story structures (blogs, podcasts, galleries, polls); introduction to digital storytelling tools; elements of multimedia feature packages; crowdsourcing; and working with School Newspapers Online websites and WordPress. Students take photos, capture and edit video, write stories and post content using iPads.
A midweek reporting expedition to San Francisco will include city highlights and a visit to a local media company. Options include social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Storify, as well as local newspapers such as Stanford Daily, the Palo Alto Weekly, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
During afternoon lab, students take advantage of reporting opportunities, such as a visit to the Hoover Institute’s history archives or the Rodin Museum. Using their iPads, students report, write, edit and post text, photo and video stories, working closely with their team leaders.
For a look at what students produced at NBTB 2012, click on The Current, The Eye, The Flame, The Globe, The Inquirer and The Zephyr. (Our 2011 student work is the Advance, Breeze, Courier and Sentinel websites.)
Year 2 program
The thrust of our new Year 2 program is to help students to put their multimedia creativity to work in the real world by exposing students to real-life editors and news organizations.
Advanced students spend three days in morning master classes with professional working journalists, learning in-depth about editorial writing, science writing, photography, videography, newsroom diversity and freelance outlets.
Year 2 students also go on field trips to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which are centered on sit-down discussions with editors at leading news organizations. Students have the opportunity to pitch stories, develop personal contacts, and receive feedback on their ideas.
Afternoons are lab time for students to pursue their research and writing. Team leaders and guest editors also help students learn how to pitch and submit their work to local and national news providers, such as Patch, the Stanford Daily, America’s Wire and New America Media. Typically, students participating in this program leave with one to two stories suitable for professional publication.
Breaking it down: a typical day @ NBTB
- 7:30 a.m to 8:30 a.m. — Breakfast at Lagunitas Dining Hall on campus
- 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Newswriting basics (Year 1) or science writing (Year 2)
- 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Lunch break
- 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. — Check-in and planning time with team leaders
- 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Team lab time
- 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m — Downtime
- 5:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. — Dinner (and ice cream!)
- 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. — Guest speakers
- 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. — Team time; jazz concert or baseball game; downtime
- 11 p.m. — Lights out/bed check for residential students
Our evening guest speaker series features professional journalists and news entrepreneurs who have a front row seat on how journalism is evolving. Topics include the power of story and emerging multimedia platforms; student press law and the Web; libel, privacy and photo ethics; and how to create and maintain a digital footprint.