College Prep Class for High School Students Shares the Power of Journalism

To be a person is to have a story to tell. — Isak Dinesen

For thousands of years, storytelling has been a way for humans to engage, share feelings, and convey personal experiences.

Sharing stories with words and images helps us connect with the world around us and better understand one another.

This summer, high school students will have the opportunity to enhance their storytelling skills in Journalism through Words and Photographs, a college prep class offered in UVM’s Summer Academy program.

Taught by photographer Andrew Frost and writer Jenny Grosvenor, the course is part of UVM’s Summer Academy, a four-week residential and online program offered to high school juniors and seniors who want to explore areas of study and earn transferable college credit.

The course’s photography component is new this year, Frost says, adding that students will work on a variety of projects, from writing assignments to research to telling stories using words and photographs.

The goal of the course is for students to understand “real visual literacy coupled with the tools to tell a powerful story,” Frost says. Students will learn to appreciate the ability of words and pictures and to illuminate universal human experiences. Students will also learn to capture an audience and build a visual narrative that communicates without written language.

In an era when smart phone cameras are ubiquitous and everyone is posting online, Frost says students will better understand how to make an impact.

“This is nothing new—photographs have been staged since the inception of the medium, and from a fundamental starting point photographs are not true representations of reality,” he says. “We’ll delve into this in class and work on strategies to use photographs in interesting and compelling ways through both practice and an examination of historical photographic examples.”

Frost, who has been a photographer for 15 years, says he generally creates photographs of whatever he finds interesting—a pile of keys in the afternoon sunlight, icicles in a cave, a ski lodge perched on top of a mountain, and his dog running in the snow.

“Storytelling is all around us. We spin the events of our lives into a story we tell people when we meet them,” he says. “Understanding both how storytelling works and how to tell more engaging stories is almost like a superpower.”

Dates for Summer Academy’s Journalism through Words and Photographs are posted online.

Apply to Journalism through Words and Photographs

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