Many Voices, One Mission: A Recap of NBTB 2018


By Hannah Jannol and Matthew Asuncion

NBTB 2018 Counselors-In-Training

Eight teams. Eight websites. Countless articles, videos, photos, story maps and op-eds. These were all up on screen for over 70 students and their parents during the 2018 Newsroom by the Bay showcase, held July 7 at Stanford University.

The showcase was the culminating opportunity for Year 1 groups and the Year 2 group to show what they worked on all week, as each student gave a glimpse of what they did and what they learned. The experiences and content were vast, diverse and intensive. The night was capped off by the “Sharkie” awards, which were given out by each of the team’s leaders, and camp co-director Paul Kandell gave individual and team awards in different categories, such as “best feature story,” or “best use of video.”

Kandell and fellow co-director Beatrice Motamedi kicked off the evening with a thank you to all the friends and family in attendance for their continued support of the campers.

Motamedi then invited four members of the Year 2 group, as well as counselor-in-training Matthew Asuncion, to discuss one of the projects undertaken by campers at NBTB 2018. Inspired by a visit from The Trace’s Akoto Ofori-Atta, these campers explained how teenagers can write obituaries of other teenagers who died due to gun violence.

Year 2 student Allie Kelly said the obituaries were “very well-researched,” and supposed to be “a celebration of their life.”

“It was important that we had the guidance to go about this respectfully,” continued Asuncion. “We learned not only to become better journalists, but to become better storytellers.”

The evening then progressed into the main event, as each team introduced their website and theme to the audience.



The first Year 1 group to present was Team Lookout, led by Lande Watson, a former student of Kandell at Palo Alto High School.

The seven girls showed how they created stories around the theme of the significance of the pledge of allegiance in today’s America.

“Can oppressed people say the pledge of allegiance?” one girl asked the audience.

Arielle Bucio and Celeste Bloom spoke about a video they made on how the perception of the United States has changed over time.

Watson applauded her group for their curiosity and hard work, who had gone so far as to interview people while on the train to San Francisco.



Team Hound was led by Camille Respess, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida.

Their theme was the idea of “voices,” and how it relates to the American story.

Hannah Bohn said she chose voices because she thought it was “extremely representative of what it means to be an American.”

Sammie Woolley won an award for her review of “We Shot the War,” an exhibit of Vietnam War photojournalists at Stanford.

“I had never written a review before,” said Woolley. “My team leader was like, ‘This is really great,’ so that was a really proud moment for me.”



Kasey Carlson’s group, Intercept, focused on how America’s youth view race and ethnicity.

Mya Franklin worked on a story on gentrification and displacement in San Francisco, especially among communities of color.

Marlize Duncan won an award for her story on how victims of gun violence are often forgotten or don’t get their stories told.

When in a neighborhood of lower income,” she writes, “having the resources to create a national movement doesn’t come as easily.”



Team Scout was led by Tyler Kraft, a rising senior at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

The team, not hindered by the fact that the field day in San Francisco was held on the Fourth of July, took the opportunity to cover the diversity of celebrations in America.

Jared Fang wrote a piece about the confluence of Chinese and American cultures on the Fourth of July in Chinatown. Daisy Finefrock and Megan Barrett filmed a video of Lion Dancers parading through the streets of Chinatown to commemorate the holiday.

Yusra Elbgal and Claire Chu headed to Fisherman’s Wharf (Pier 39) to ask passers-by about the festivities held at one of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco.

“It has a very diverse culture,” said one man at Fisherman’s Wharf. “It represents everything the United States is about.”



Backchannel students, led by Alex Cremer, created a wide array of projects.

Callia Yuan wrote an op-ed about Ofori-Atta’s work with The Trace and coverage of gun violence in the media.

“I put a twist on it, and I think if you read it you might learn something,” she said.

Nidhi Kandi wrote a piece about where women should get resources if they are sexually harassed. While in San Francisco, Team Backchannel visited A Woman’s Place, a shelter and safe haven for women in the South of Market district of San Francisco, and the Women’s Building, an arts and education community center in the Mission district.



The Mission team was led by San Mateo native and Northwestern University student Matt McHugh.

Although (or, perhaps, because) the team was composed of Bay Area natives, it focused on immigration and diversity within the region.

Nick Schein noted the difference between what life-long citizens and immigrants had to say about immigration. Immigrants focused on the reasons for entering a new country, whereas citizens focused on policies and protecting the rights of those already in the country.

Amrita Sangani took a more personal angle, writing about her father’s experience as a child refugee, comparing it to the plight of millions of Syrians in the present day.

Luckily, my father and his family were able to come to the United States to seek safety,” she writes. “Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all refugees.”

Several other students used San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest Chinese enclave outside Asia, as the backdrop for their stories, interviewing shop owners and residents of the area about immigration.



Team Hunt, led by Izzie Ramirez, worked on projects involving the community.

Fiona Flaherty, Bailey Hererra, and Jaden Coleman created a video package covering the many athletic spaces and facilities on the Stanford campus and their effect on the lifestyle of Stanford students.

Lawrence Fan noted how the Chinese-American community, despite having faced a rough and rather unfair past, has found a niche within American society. He mentioned how after a discussion with a lady in a park, she offered an American flag balloon.

It was definitely a surprise,” he said. “But it was the best part of my day.”

Spark (Y2)


The sixteen Year 2 students presented last, separated into two categories titled “culture” and “contention.”

In “culture”, Emma and Jordan spoke about how they asked locals which of the five freedoms on the First Amendment means the most to them.

Aaron Diggdon took photos to capture wealth disparity within the city of San Francisco. Although Diggdon is a photographer by trade, he decided to write a short article to accompany the photo series.

It definitely was a step outside of my comfort zone, but I definitely learned something out of it,” he said.

In “contention”, topics ranged from minimum wage and housing to drug use and mental health.

Joe Meyerson spoke about his love for long-form feature writing, having written a piece on the needle exchange program in San Francisco and the city’s well-documented history with drugs.

Brianna Martinez wrote a column on the stigmas behind mental health in the Hispanic community. 

“Masculinity, femininity, and religion have altered the way people within the Latino community view their mental health,” Martinez writes.

Jenny Xu spoke about her unique approach to covering the rent crisis in the Bay Area. Her Instagram account (@doggiesofdolorespark) featured photos of dogs at Mission Dolores Park, coupled with quotations from her interviewees about gentrification and the rising cost of living. Some of the captions were more satirical than others. See for yourself!

“I wanted to move in with my boyfriend but then I realized he still lives with his mom. I literally cried.” 🐶 A study by Abodo shows that 31.5% of San Francisco millennials still live with their parents. • • • #dolorespark #sanfrancisco #thecity #sf #bayarea #housingcrisis #minimumwage #rent #fourthofjuly #puppies #dogs #animals #news #nbtb18

A post shared by Doggies Of Dolores Park (@doggiesofdolorespark) on


Sharkie Awards

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The night was capped off by the presentation of the Sharkie awards. Each Year 1 group gave out one award, while the Year 2 team gave out two. The Sharkie award has been a Newsroom by the Bay tradition for more than seven years.

Motamedi described Sharkie recipients as “someone who is eager, strikes out of his or her comfort zone, and is maybe not an A-student in school, but an A-student in life.” 

Lande Watson, of Team Lookout, gave her Sharkie to Lilli Trompke for her “restless” work on the team’s website.

Tyler Kraft, of Team Scout, gave his to Claire Chu, also for her tireless work on the website, including one night where she stayed up (out of her own will) well past bed-checks to work on the site.

Alex Cremer, of Team Backchannel, presented hers to Helen Tran for finding a way to pivot her focus when she faced obstacles in trying to pin down her story.

“Sometimes the quietest person in a meeting is secretly plotting something,” Kasey said of Amy Miyahara, who received the Sharkie for Team Intercept.

Camille Respess, of Team Hound, awarded her Sharkie to Hannah Bohn because she “came in with so much passion, with so many ideas, and exuded that through her piece on fashion.”

Izzie Ramirez, of Team Hunt, gave Dianna Shen a Sharkie because she worked hard to track down interviews during the field trip day to San Francisco and wrote an outstanding piece on the model-minority myth of Asian Americans.

“I’m just blessed to give you this Sharkie,” Izzie said.

To end the night, Peyton Spellacy and Zach Berman, both returning students from NBTB 2017, were presented with the Sharkie awards for the Year 2 (Spark) team for their continued progress and growth in their journalistic pursuits.

After some parting words from Kandell and Motamedi, students and parents mingled in the courtyard, roasted marshmallows for s’mores, and bid their farewells as another year of Newsroom By the Bay made its way into the record books.

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