Doha high school students attend summer journalism program at Northwestern

High school students attend Northwestern's Summer Media Program

High school students from local Doha schools have attended Northwestern University in Qatar’s (NU-Q) Summer Media Program, which offers young media enthusiasts an introduction to the world of journalism.

In its seventh year, the program is designed to educate students on the basics of journalism, including how to conduct interviews, capture high-quality images, craft educational infographics, write and edit feature articles, and speak at news conferences.

The program is a unique opportunity for young people interested in media careers, or a better understanding of how media works through first-hand experiences using popular digital platforms. “The summer program is aimed at giving students a glimpse of the media world, whether they choose that as a career or not, “ said Northwestern University in Qatar Dean and CEO Everette E. Dennis.  “The importance of media in a global society begins in humble ways as students learn to frame stories and purse them with accuracy and professionalism,” he said.

"I was never really set on what I wanted to do after college, but at the end of this program, I told my family: ‘I want to live the last two weeks for the rest of my life.’” -Program participant Zainab Abdelgadir

International broadcast journalist and former Al Jazeera English video reporter, Paul Rhys, and NU-Q graduate Dana Atrach led the workshops, training the students in the fundamental practices of the profession, as well as the role and value of journalists in society.

“The great thing about NU-Q’s high school program,” Rhys said, “is that it catches students so young. They’re able to see themselves as journalists and media professionals very early in their lives.”

The two-week course offered 25 high school students from high schools across the country valuable exposure to the inner workings of media and communication fields.

Zainab Abdelgadir from the Cambridge International School for girls was curious about journalism as a career and wanted to explore the industry during the long summer break. “I was never really set on what I wanted to do after college, but at the end of this program, I told my family: ‘I want to live the last two weeks for the rest of my life,’” Abdelgadir said.

Tony El Ghazal, who attends the International School of Choueifat, was eager to learn about how his interests could be utilized in the field. Having written scripts and edited 30 hours of film to create short movies for his high school classmates and family, El Ghazal wanted to see where his talents could take him. “The program was really practical, and I was able to learn why certain headlines work, and I also saw that I could use my skills to create something valuable and informative,” he said.

Throughout the year, NU-Q hosts weekend workshops, film festivals, and leadership conferences for high school students. Past sessions have included topics such as film exploration, documentary photography, social media, and news reporting. It also includes the Qatar Leadership Conference, one of the largest professional development conferences for educators and students in the Middle East, which is held in partnership with THIMUN Qatar. 

These programs, which have been conducted for seven years have been planned, organized, and run by Emily Wilson, NU-Q’s longtime head of community relations who is returning home to the U.S. this month. “The success of this effort and the lives of high school students it has touched, is a tribute to her work,” Dennis said.