WriteBoston is proud to share the accomplishments of 31 Boston teenagers who participated in this year’s Summer Journalism Institute.

SJI is the summer intensive iteration of WriteBoston’s Teens in Print program, in which staff members work with local teenagers after school to build reporting skills and publish their writing. At SJI this year, 31 reporters aged 14-19 spent six weeks learning a journalistic curriculum, writing and publishing multiple stories with interviews and research they conducted themselves throughout the city. Students then spent the last three weeks of the program participating in groups that pitched, reported on, and produced multimedia stories.

Students Jazlynn and Ketura work together at SJI headquarters, hosted by Babson College's Boston Campus.

Whether it was an article covering the SAG/WGA labor strike, a video profiling the work of local street artists, or an animation dissecting urban design history in Boston, students learned to use a variety of writing styles and media formats to tell the stories they were passionate about. 

In addition to their reporting, teens gained real-world skills from field trips. Students who chose to work on PR, advertising, and social media visited the Castle Group, where on-staff professionals conducted a workshop to help students build PR skills. At the Leventhal Map Center in the Boston Public Library, reporters learned to critically analyze archival maps and evaluate the decision-making that led to redlining in Boston. On another trip, students visited the Boston Globe and sat in on the morning editorial board meeting, toured the newsroom, and contributed their experiences and stories to the Globe education coverage team. Some reporters even got to sit at the Globe’s TV desk and practice reading a news script from the teleprompter. At the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, students toured the “As We Rise” photography exhibit, reviewing a curated collection of work by Black artists demonstrating not only a vastness of cultures within the Black community, but also a diversity of ways to tell stories.

The summer of reporting, research, and education came to a close with the SJI Showcase Exhibition, where more than 80 Boston community members, family and professionals, visited the teens to view their work and learn about the reporting they had done. (View these projects at www.teensinprint.com/sji23)

Whether they were conducting research in-house, interviewing in the field, or documenting stories as they unfolded, students spent the summer building their reporting skills as well as friendship and camaraderie with one another.

In fact for many students, spending the summer reporting on the city gave them a closeness with their community they didn’t have before. For most, “[SJI] kind of heightened my feeling of connection with Boston. I definitely felt more aware of stuff in the city from our time here.” 

“[SJI] made me more aware of the vastness and diversity of the Boston community,” one student said. Others said they specifically “learned so much about the city’s history and issues. I learned about urban design, redlining, and gentrification and how they negatively impact communities.”

Our students’ reactions to reporting on the stories they care about — a key component of the Teens in Print program — affirms our belief that publishing teen voices is both a meaningful and empowering experience for our students and a vital addition to our broader public discourse, in which youth perspectives are too often dismissed.

One student’s favorite part of the program was “getting to show people what I’ve done with their stories, and how I’ve put them into pages. It’s great to hear from people across the city and be able to truly know what happens in Boston.” 

“I am most proud of my writing in SJI,” another student said. “I feel confident that my writing pieces in SJI can deliver the messages that I wanted them to deliver.”

You can explore the SJI students’ articles and multimedia projects at teensinprint.com.