Park Students Make Mark at Journalism Bootcamp

By Patrick Bohn ’05, July 25, 2019
Students produce in-depth report on cybersecurity with the help of global think tank CSIS.

While the summer months means most Ithaca College students are out of the classroom, it doesn’t mean the learning stops. In fact, for a group of journalism students, this summer was an opportunity to get an amazing real-world experience at a renowned think tank. 

From June 3-7, 10 students, accompanied by professor Mead Loop, attended journalism bootcamp at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., where they produced a multimedia report on cybersecurity.  

The group was split up into four teams — story and web editors, audio producers, video producers, and data reporters/visualizers — each of which was tasked with a different portion of the project. The end result was a 3,000-word story, accompanied by three-minute audio and video clips, as well as an infographic that showed the history of cyberattacks in the United States.  

“It was eye-opening to interview top people in the government about this topic. But our Park School education has prepped us to ask tough questions.”  

Jason Hannigan ’20

Producing a report of that caliber in a short time required all the students to be at the top of their journalistic games. “Going into the project, we all had an idea of what it was, but none of us understood the depth that it had,” said Alyssa Spady ’22, who was a member of the audio team. “Having a week to produce a video, multiple data visualizations, an audio component, website, and a written piece was daunting. But I think that because of the caliber of Park students, we were able to take on something like this and not crack under the pressures.” 

The students worked with the Center’s iDeas Lab and cyber team, who helped with the multimedia portions of the project. “Having the opportunity to work alongside the iDeas Lab team was great because we had the vision and they gave us the tools to make that happen,” Spady said. “Nothing was ever [impossible]; there was always a way to make it work.” 

Throughout their week in the capital, the students met with journalists and government officials, such as John Lynch, chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The experts provided the students with critical information — provided they asked the right questions. 

“It was eye-opening to interview top people in the government about this topic,” said Jason Hannigan ’20, who was part of the video group. “But our Park School education has prepped us to ask tough questions.”  

The students’ final product capped off an amazing week that broadened their skill set and gave them an appreciation of the opportunities provided to them by the Park School. “I’m very thankful to Professor Loop and [Associate Dean] Bryan Roberts for making this possible,” Hannigan said “It’s something we won’t forget.”