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Editor’s Notebook: ‘Made to be a journalist’

Published: Friday, July 18, 2014 8:51 p.m. CDT

I always find it exciting when I can help young people learn more about journalism by having them come into our newsroom for a job shadow.

And so it was earlier this week, when AnnMarie Hilton, a soon-to-be senior at Central High School in Burlington, and Claire Jacobi, a recent graduate of Batavia High School, came into the Kane County Chronicle office to observe what the editorial team does and to ask questions.

The girls came by on Monday morning. We had a somewhat pre-determined schedule in place.

I gave AnnMarie and Claire a tour of the newsroom, and then they got to spend some time with photo editor Sandy Bressner.

Afterward, we took a break for lunch, and then the young ladies chatted with features editor Kara Silva.

Next up was a regular meeting of the editorial staff, which both girls attended. Then I spent some time with them, going over their résumés and reviewing some of AnnMarie’s school newspapers.

I think the job shadow day – and one additional day for Claire, who spent some extra time with sports editor Jay Schwab – had a positive impact on Claire and AnnMarie.

“Walking into the Kane County Chronicle office on July 14, 2014, I knew I was interested in studying journalism; walking out I was confident that I was made to be a journalist,” wrote AnnMarie in an email to me later in the week. “When first exposed to journalism, I was taught that in order for a paper to run smoothly, the staff must act as a team. A strong leader is vital to a successful team, and Gresey was exactly that. The way she interacted with her fellow editors and listened to each of their ideas gave me an understanding of what it means to have leadership in a newsroom. These are skills that I can bring to my high school newspaper as I serve as editor-in-chief.”

Thanks to AnnMarie for her feedback. Claire also enjoyed the job shadow experience, writing:

“Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! I learned so much these past two days. Being a regular reader of the Chronicle, it was especially cool to put all these writers’ names to faces. It’s interesting to meet the people behind the words. Everyone I met was enthusiastic when it came to what they were doing, which made the experience even better for an aspiring journalist.

This was a huge learning experience and there is a lot I will take away to college with me!”

Thanks to Claire as well. The job shadow was a great experience for our staff, too.

Those interested in doing an editorial-focused job shadow at the Kane County Chronicle can contact me using the information at the end of this column to learn more.

• Kathy Gresey is editor of the Kane County Chronicle and president of the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association Board. Contact her at kgresey@shawmedia.com or 630-845-5368. Learn more about NINA at http://ninaonline.org.

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