Journalism instructor goes “camping”

Journalism instructor Rick Brunson spent a week teaching sports writing to 18 high school students as part of a summer journalism camp earlier this year.

Camp Orlando drew 340 high school journalism students from across Florida to the Doubletree Inn at SeaWorld for a week of intense, daylong training workshops in various journalism skills. The camp was sponsored by Walsworth Publishing Co.

Brunson taught a sports writing class that focused on expanding students’ knowledge of high school sports, developing and interviewing sources, and structuring game and feature stories.

He also brought in other Nicholson School alumni who are now working as professional sports journalists to speak to the class, including ESPN writer Zach McCann,’09, and Orlando Sentinel sports correspondentBrendan Sonnone,’11.

Fieldwork was a major component of the class. Students traveled to the YMCA Aquatic Center to interview championship swimmer Kaitlyn Whalen and held a press conference with Devin Washington, one of Central Florida’s top prep football players. A story written by two students in the class about Washington’s experience of being bullied as a youngster was featured on the front page of the Orlando Sentinel sports section – both online and in print.

To see a portion of the story, click here.

“This is a first for Camp Orlando,’’ said Missy Green of Walsworth. “We’ve never had a story from the camp picked up by local media. This is awesome.’’

Brunson teaches sports reporting, news reporting, editing and journalism ethics in the Nicholson School.

“Being with these guys for the week really energized me,’’ Brunson said.

In addition to Brunson, NSC adjunct instructor, Nick Masuda, also taught at the camp, leading workshops on Photoshop and Illustrator.

“We got to carry the Nicholson School flag all week,’’ Brunson said. “Students who wish to pursue their journalism studies in college talked to both of us all week about opportunities at UCF. So we were recruiting while we were teaching.’’

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