Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


Senn High School Field Trip

Senn High School Field Trip
Photos by Jonathon Vera

Students from Chicago’s Senn High School experienced what it’s like being a television news reporter during a recent field trip to Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication.

Twenty five Senn students used professional video cameras and microphones to interview shoppers along the Magnificent Mile, just steps from the School of Communication’s downtown Chicago campus.

The students also were recorded on camera reading news stories at the anchor desk of the School of Communication’s state-of-the-art convergence studio.

The students are part of Senn’s Digital Journalism program, a four-year International Baccalaureate curriculum designed to teach skills in reporting, writing and producing stories through digital technology.   

Loyola’s School of Communication, with financial support from the McCormick Foundation, has been partnering with Senn for the past three years. School of Communication faculty and students regularly meet with teachers and students at Senn, helping with curriculum development, classroom instruction and equipment and technological support.

The field trip to Loyola’s School of Communication offered Senn students exposure to college-level instruction in digital journalism, said Michael Cullinane, the lead journalism instructor at Senn.

“The Senn students were up to the challenge to perform real interviews and broadcast reports just like the Loyola students would have to. They didn't hesitate to stop people for man-on-the-street interviews and conducted their Q and As with professionalism. A few of them told me that they'd like to be journalists in the future,” Cullinane said.

The Senn students were excited to have the opportunity to visit the School of Communication.

“I loved getting to know what it’s like being behind the anchor desk,” said Symone Smith, 16, a junior at Senn. “There were so many great people at Loyola who taught us to use the technology. I could tell there was a passion there with the teachers.”

Fellow student Kendall Jackson agreed.

“I enjoyed working behind the scenes with the cameras. I was impressed with the high level of the technology,” said Jackson, 17, a Senn sophomore.

Don Heider, Dean of Loyola’s School of Communication, said the field trip is a high point of the Loyola-Senn partnership.

“The point of the program is get students exciting about journalism and I think when they visit Loyola, they can see the possibilities that going to college and working in journalism might offer them,” Heider said. “They are a great group of students who are so enthusiastic and ready to learn.”