Since its founding, ThreeSixty Journalism (formerly the Urban Journalism Workshop) has provided journalism training to Minnesota high-school students who are primarily from low-income and diverse households.
ThreeSixty has developed into an award-winning, year-round program that offers a teen-led website and print magazine, free classes, summer camps and ongoing mentoring for Minnesota teens who want to learn and practice the skills of journalism and make their voices heard.
Over the past decade, hundreds of ThreeSixty's alumni have gone on to study journalism and communication in colleges that include St. Thomas. Dozens are working in media and communications firms around the country, bringing important new skills and perspectives to the field.
DIVERSIFYING A PROFESSION
When Laura Lee was a student at Minneapolis Patrick Henry High School, she wasn’t sure what direction life would lead her. A summer camp with ThreeSixty Journalism, followed by four years studying journalism at the University of St Thomas put her on a path to her current job as the 10 p.m. anchor with KAAL-TV in Rochester, Minnesota.
"Without ThreeSixty, I would have gone into college with a perception of journalism based on just experiences from high school and textbook knowledge. Meeting local journalists and producing stories that affect a larger community opened my eyes to the real possibility of pursuing journalism further," she writes.
Since coming to St. Thomas in 2001, the ThreeSixty Journalism program has trained hundreds of Minnesota teens – particularly low-income and minority teens – in the skills and rigors of journalism. Dozens have come to St. Thomas to study journalism and other subjects. Many others are studying journalism and communications at other institutions. More than a dozen are now working in media and communications firms across the country, including WCCO-TV, the Washington Post and the Star Tribune.
The program serves a wide range of teens but focuses particularly on serving low-income and minority teens, many of whom lack such opportunities at their high schools.
Most students who work with ThreeSixty Journalism do not become journalists or communications professionals. They follow other careers and become economists and English teachers, DJs and grant writers. They consistently say that their work with ThreeSixty Journalism honed in on their skills as writers and critical thinkers. It expanded their interest in the world and empowered them to speak so that adults would listen.
SERVING TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
Their work is published online and in a print magazine distributed to more than 200 Minnesota high schools, libraries and youth organizations each year.
“The magazine has an important mission: giving a voice to urban youth of diverse backgrounds. Our high school students connect with these young writers, their ideas and issues,” said Marsha Besch, high school reading consultant for the Minneapolis Public Schools. “Since the students in the district's reading classes struggle with reading, providing them with high-interest texts is important. ThreeSixty provides these appealing materials."
“I loved having the opportunity to meet with more people who shared the same passion for journalism as myself and the opportunity to actually go out and get a story that would be published for people to read. It was a wonderful experience and I am thankful I had the opportunity to be a part of it.” – Samantha Timmerman, a senior at St. Louis Park High School
"I learned from everything and I really think it has taught me to become better in my writing and a better journalist." - Isir Osman, a junior at St. Paul Central Senior High School
"It's a lot of work that'll make you feel proud of yourself when you see your story printed." - Victoria Turcios, a freshman at Washburn High School in Minneapolis
"ThreeSixty Journalism’s magazine and website have become very valuable tools for the high school reading teachers in the Minneapolis Public Schools. The magazine has an important mission: giving a voice to urban youth of diverse backgrounds. Our high school students connect with these young writers, their ideas and issues."-Marsha Besch, Minneapolis Schools High School Reading Consultant
“I learned so many things and met so many people. I saw people deciding what was going to be on the news tonight and I saw tomorrow’s news being made.” – Hibo Ahmed, 2009 Summer camp participant
“Having the opportunity to hear real life stories and to have an image of how I wanted to tell it is inspirational. I’m confident in saying that “ThreeSixty is a powerful stepping-stone to my future journalism world.” – Anika Bowie, 2009 Summer camp participant