Meet the Sharkie: Clare Mathias of National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C.

Clare Mathias, a member of The Zephyr news team, has won a 2012 Sharkie from Newsroom by the Bay team leaders, teachers and staff.

Mathias is a junior this year at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., where she participates in tennis, lacrosse and track in addition to serving as a staff writer for her school newspaper, the Discus.

She covered several stories during her week at NBTB. One innovative video story, an interview with Malik Grandberry, a fellow NBTB student, focused on his dreams of becoming a sportswriter but also included a cutaway to AT&T Park, where fellow student Marisa Anz provided color commentary on a June 28 Giants vs. Reds game.

Leah Yeung, team leader and mentor for the Zephyr team, said Clare was a natural leader.

“From the get go, Clare was open to the idea of using various methods of multimedia to produce stories,” Yeung wrote. “She encouraged collaboration within the group but also championed the idea of getting out of your comfort zone by constantly taking a new role within each project. She led by example. Her upbeat spirit and can do attitude energised and motivated the group to produce work to the best of their ability.”

Clare Mathias, far left, and friends visit the Apple store in downtown Palo Alto during Newsroom by the Bay’s Summer 2012 session.

Mathias said that NBTB helped her hone her skills as a journalist.

“As a result of camp, I find myself asking better questions,” she wrote us. “When I’m interviewing someone, I now ask questions that I think will lead to the most interesting and meaningful article rather than the ones that fill up my word count the quickest.

“Even when out to dinner with my parents and their friends, the questions I ask have changed. They are less out of politeness and more asking real opinions on topics I care about, and, of course, hope to write about.

“I don’t know if this is a result of an increase in confidence Newsroom by the Bay gave me (perhaps by requiring me to ask strangers in Union Square about their workout routines), or an increased interest in hearing everyone’s side of the story (after hearing from inspiring guest speakers), but it certainly has taken my conversations and articles to the next level.”

Mathias hopes to start a new broadcasting club at her school, which will draw on filming and editing skills she learned last summer. But she’s drawn equal inspiration from the students she met.

“My friends were always thinking of ways they could bring back their new knowledge to their school, and were constantly jotting down ideas for features and pieces to write once home,” according to Mathias. “To see other people my age really passionate about journalism — its basics, styles, morals, and larger effect on the community — that was what really reinforced my love for the news and made my time at NBTB truly invaluable.”

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