Day Eight: Writing Your Story

News Reporter Academy Tristan Xiong and her writing coach Miguel Otárola celebrate a success.

If you had visited the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas this morning, you would have seen News Reporter Academy students scattered around the second floor, typing furiously. With the help of their writing coaches, students worked hard today on finishing their stories. They even had the chance to eat lunch with their writing coaches, getting to know them and learning about the professional fields they work in.

After lunch, admissions counselor Amanda Yang presented to the students about St. Thomas and answered their questions about college applications, life on campus and more. Later in the afternoon, Phil Piña, deputy editor of the Pioneer Press, taught students about becoming their own editors, giving them tips on how to edit and sharing stories of life in the newsroom.

Here are the student reflections for Wednesday, July 17:

Ayo Olagbaju
Ayo Olagbaju

Ayo Olagbaju – DeLaSalle High School

Today was all about writing our stories. Interviewing people and writing an article on it is new to me, so this was a positive experience. Today, I worked on composing the story and putting everything together. I learned how to extract quotes from my transcription and include them in the feature. I also learned the significance of an article’s structure.

Everyone who has spoken to us has stressed the importance of catching the reader’s attention and starting off strong.  This morning, my writing coach assisted me in using effective word choice to get my point across. This afternoon, we heard from the editor from Pioneer Press. He encouraged us to highlight the facts and read our stories aloud first. He also told us to get rid of extra words and get to the point. Doing these things will make the story more clear, and more people will want to read it.

These things were all very helpful. I was glad to learn more about this process, and I was especially happy to hear about it from professional. I am eager to submit my story and hear from the editors, because I know it will be a learning experience!

Samuel Stensgaard
Samuel Stensgaard

Sam Stensgaard – Roseville Area High School

Today I had a nice time typing out my story and getting a better feel for what angle I was taking.

I got here early, yet this day feels like it went by super fast. 

I’m hoping the editor has some improvements to my story, though hopefully they don’t make me redo the entire thing.


Asa Williams
Asa Williams

Asa Williams – Cherry Hill High School, Cherry Hill, NJ:

Today I edited writing my story on the Subversive Sirens with the editor who I was assigned, and I now feel very confident with it.

I also heard one of the admissions counselors named Amanda at St. Thomas speak to us about what it takes to get into the school and what campus life would be like.

We also got to speak to an editor Phil Piña, and he gave everyone advice on proper grammar for a story.