Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) hosted a hands-on workshop allowing high school students to get a glimpse of a career in media production.
“NU-Q annually hosts summer programs for high school students in the region to help them understand the role of media in a global society, and how stories are framed and pursued with accuracy and professionalism,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO.
During the two-week program, students took introductory classes in topics that reflect NU-Q’s expertise in communication and journalism. “I’ve always been curious about Northwestern and when I stumbled upon this workshop, I knew it would be a good chance to experience something new and also familiarize myself with the world of media,” said Nada Abbass, an Omani student from Azzan Bin Qais International School in Muscat.
As part of the program, students learned the art of storytelling through lectures and group discussions, as well as hands-on activities such as reporting on live events, creating news packages, and using the state-of-the-art equipment available in NU-Q’s new building. This introduction to an education in media allowed them to discover the process of story structure and news creation, as well as to deconstruct larger concepts such as media bias and differentiate fact and opinion.
NU-Q Professor Miriam Berg, who taught the summer course, noted that students enrolled in the program “gain the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media and understand how to be critical thinkers.”
The students worked in teams to write short features and shoot videos, which they presented at the end of the program. “The program has encouraged me to be more curious and to talk to people. The most challenging – and interesting – part has been finding stories that are newsworthy and compelling,” said M.E.S Indian School senior Ashraf Haque.
Two NU-Q alumni, Aamer Hassan and Ruba Shaath, assisted Berg with the program, which Hassan participated in as a high school student. “I first came to NU-Q as a student in one of these summer programs. It really helped me become clear about the career I wanted, and what I wanted to pursue in college,” he said.
This year’s students may end up following in Hassan’s footsteps. “I’m here to understand what it takes to be a Northwestern student… and what it takes to be a journalist,” said Fatma Al-Mohannadi, a student at Al Khor Secondary School.