By Lauren Peller
Spoon University is an online publication whose purpose is to relate to and celebrate millennials who are trying to navigate the food scene. From simple recipe hacks to the best restaurants around a city, town, state, or college campus, you can scroll through different food related articles for hours.
Joining Spoon opens a digital media world for the next generation of journalists, marketers, event-planners, photographers, and videographers. Contributors receive training and information that will help them build new skills. Spoon U allows students to use an online publishing platform called “Secret Sauce” that is filled with skill guides, stock photo library, marketing materials, brand kits, and video demonstrations. Any time new students join Spoon U, they go through training in which they learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), headline writing, food photography, and social media strategy, a large portion of what you need to know when working with digital media. With thousands of contributors from hundreds of colleges, and a new High School Chapter, Spoon U helps contributors feel empowered by teaching them how to improve their writing, videos, and photos. While it may appear that Spoon U is only for college students…that is not the case.
Calling all high school students who have a passion for food, writing, video, photo, and journalism…this is a unique opportunity. There is a chapter designated just for high school students all across the country. This is a great way to get ahead before stepping foot on a college campus. In addition, you can build up an online portfolio of writing that the whole world can appreciate and share. In addition to publishing articles, you learn about online analytics, such as your article statistics, page views, and Facebook shares. According to Spoon High School Social Media Director, Lindsay Paulen from New Jersey, “I wrote an article called The 5 Must-Try Doughnut Shops in New Jersey which got so many page views. I was able to reach out to each shop and share my article with them. Montclair Bread Company actually posted my article up in their shop and shared it on all of their social media platforms. It was amazing to see how one article could be shared with so many other people across New Jersey. Spoon U has helped me expand my audience and allowed me write about things I am passionate about.”
As the current Spoon High School Manager and Editorial Director, I have found that student contributors find it tremendously rewarding to connect with other students who have a common interest in food, writing, and photography. Brooke Daly, a high school writer from Florida said, “I learned how to utilize social media to grow an online program from the ground up. Through my experience publishing articles, I’ve practiced incorporating a casual writing style and tailoring articles to target a specific audience. Applying to and joining Spoon High School was the best decision I have ever made throughout high school. Not only has my writing improved, but I have been able to showcase my family recipes and ways food has impacted my life.” Working with Spoon HQ’s Editors and Secret Sauce will allow you to develop tangible skills that will carry over to college and even a future job. You will learn how to write in a casual style which is different from essay writing or newspaper style writing. In addition, you will learn how to tailor headlines to a specific audience and understand how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works.
Many students at Hills East have been involved with Spoon University at the high school level. Lifestyles Editor for the Thunderbird and original member of Spoon High School, Hallie Schuster said, “I love food and strive to live a healthy lifestyle. Since my goal is to become a dietician, Spoon is the perfect way to get involved in something food-related before college that I can continue at college. One of my favorite articles I covered was What to eat on Long Island this summer if you’re trying to be healthy. Being able to share my passion for healthy eating with other people was incredible, and I was able to share my favorite places too. Spoon University has manifested my appreciation for food even more so now that there is Spoon Healthier that covers wellness and health related topics.”
The goal of the high school chapter is to teach high school students about the world of online media, especially if they are budding journalists. Current Community Editor at Spoon University, Samantha Dilling has worked closely with the high school students. “My goal for them is to publish 2-4 articles a month individually. If each student is constantly working on a article, the student will transform into a better writer. I am extremely proud of all they have accomplished, being the biggest Spoon chapter across the board and publishing the most content per month,” she said.
If you would like to join Spoon U, go on spoonuniversity.com, click on “become a contributor” at the bottom of the main page, and fill out the request form. Then, you’ll be connected with the chapter you’d like to join. Once you connect with the High School leaders of the chapter, you will have to fill out a Google Form application. Ideal candidates for this program are those students who have tangible experience with writing, photography, and/ or video.
Currently, Spoon High School has over 60 members across the country from Alabama to California to Chicago and beyond. The High School Chapter launched in August 2016, and there have been over 220 articles published to date. Do you want to see what the High School Chapter is all about? You can find out on Instagram @spoonhighschool and follow http://spoonuniversity.com/chapter/highschool
Photo by Lauren Peller