For the first time in three years, a group of future journalists lived and worked at Stony Brook for the School of Communication and Journalism’s (SoCJ) week-long Robert W. Greene Institute for High School Journalists.
The 15 high schoolers were joined by a slate of professional journalists, including a Pulitzer Prize winner and two current SoCJ students. One of them, Miles Reese, returned to support the pre-college program after being a member of the Greene team himself.
“Being with these students reminds me, even though it wasn’t that long ago, of how eager I was to learn more about the industry I want to go into,” said Reese, a sophomore journalism major from Copiague, NY. “I’m doing what I love to do and I’m helping them to do what I love to do.”
The students come to campus from across Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens. This year, one student traveled all the way from Texas for the immersive journalism program.
The Greene Institute, which has been part of the SoCJ since 2009, has been slowly returning to campus as the pandemic wanes: canceled in 2020, it moved online in 2021. Last year, students commuted to campus. This year, Stony Brook was able to return to in-person residential pre-college programs.
“It’s great to be able to give the students the full Greene experience again,” said Zachary Dowdy, journalism instructor. “That’s the way Bob Greene would have wanted it.”
The camp was organized to honor the memory of Bob Greene, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who worked for Newsday for nearly 40 years. Dowdy and Cathrine Duffy, a former instructor and advisor at the SoCJ and current director of Stony Brook HealthierU, lead the program.
During the week, students learned to conduct interviews, write stories for print and broadcast, and even spent half a day in the SoCJ’s production studio, anchoring and producing a brief newscast. They covered a variety of stories on and around campus, including the Stony Brook Film Festival, the Stony Brook Center for Game Theory’s conference and a Long Island Ducks game. The program is made possible in part thanks to help from professional journalists connected to the Press Club of Long Island, part of the national Society of Professional Journalists.
In addition to giving high schoolers an in-depth and hands-on introduction to the media industry, Greene participants are encouraged to consider applying to Stony Brook’s undergraduate programs. Those who apply and are admitted to the journalism program, like Reese, are eligible for the Next Generation Scholarship, the only four-year scholarship dedicated to journalism students. It is sponsored by the Dolan Family Foundation.
“Every year, some of our best students come to the SoCJ from the Greene program, and go on to have incredible careers in media,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the SoCJ and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “The Greene Institute offers an immersion into journalism and media that is unparalleled in the Northeast, and we’re deeply grateful to the Dolans for empowering and supporting this wonderful opportunity.”