This story about Benton County’s needle exchange program was one of the stories reported by the Oregon high school journalism students who attended this year’s High School Journalism Institute, held annually at Oregon State University.
Gazette-Times reporter Raju Woodward served as one of the editors at this year’s institute, and for Woodward, it was a homecoming of sorts. Here’s his report:
“Twelve years ago, I reluctantly attended the High School Journalism Institute Originally, I didn’t want to be there, but my high school journalism teacher threatened to fail me for my entire senior year if I didn’t go. Turns out that attending was life-changing — it set me on my path toward becoming a journalist.
“The program tries to reach out to students who are ethnic minorities, who come from low-income families or who live in underserved areas. The hope is that by getting these students interested in journalism, they’ll play a role in increasing diversity in newsrooms.
“This summer, I was asked to serve as an editor at the institute. This time around I didn’t hesitate to participate.
“From June 23-30 at Oregon State University, 19 high school students from across the state learned how to report, interview, write stories and take photos from current and former newspaper reporters, editors and photographers. This story is one of several produced by this year’s students.
“In recent years, the High School Journalism Institute has struggled with funding. It relies mainly on newspapers such as The Oregonian and the Gazette-Times for support. Donations can be sent to:
Student Media Excellence Fund
850 S.W. 35th St.
Corvallis, OR 97333
“Please specify that your donation is for the High School Journalism Institute.”
– Raju Woodward, Corvallis Gazette-Times