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My Summer with the New York Times

By Rachel Penzer

Are you an aspiring journalist? Do you enjoy documenting your experiences? The American daily newspaper the New York Times has in recent years put together what can only be described as an extremely unique experience for students matching this description. The School of the New York Times offers educational programming for both professional and pre-college audiences ranging from courses on writing and editing to classes that explore world issues.

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to attend a term of the school’s summer program. Housed on Fordham University’s Manhattan campus, the School of the New York Times NYC Summer Academy offers both intensive and explorative studies for two-week sessions. I participated in the Pop Music as Art and Business intensive taught by New York Times music industry writer Ben Sisario, which focuses on the relationship between the history, the art, and the business sides of the music industry. Other courses offered to students include: Visual Arts and Art Business; Future Sports Trends: Media, Management and Beyond; The Price of Everything: How Economics Shapes the World; Writing for Television: Inside the Writers’ Room; and Writing in the Big City: Reporting in New York, to name just a few.

This is a truly unique, once in a lifetime experience. It is very rare that a high school student gets an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with well known professionals of different fields. This is what made my time with the NYC Summer Academy truly special. Being taken under the wing of a head writer of one of the most prominent newspapers in the world means being able to experience things that not just anyone gets to experience on a day to day basis. For example, students in the Pop Music as Art and Business intensive had the pleasure of taking a private tour of the Electric Lady Studios founded by Jimi Hendrix, visiting venues such as Joe’s Pub and the Central Park Summerstage, and meeting with music industry professionals such as former M.I.A. drummer turned electronic music artist and activist Madame Gandhi, and two of the founders of New York City’s Governor’s Ball music festival. Writing for Television students were able to speak with a creator of the immensely popular Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black” and attend comedian Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show.”

All in all, I could not recommend this program enough. The School of the New York Times allows aspiring professionals of any field to dip their toes into various industries and to collaborate with other students from around the world with similar interests, as well as professionals in those fields. I know that I have taken away so much knowledge and experience from my summer with the New York Times; you can, too!

Photo courtesy of Richard Drew/AP File