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Going Back to My Newspaper Roots

Updated: Jan 10


Maui teen girl holds up a poster of her newspaper photo story layout

A few months ago I received an email from Thereese Guzman, 14, an 8th grader from Seabury Middle School, asking me if I could mentor her for five hours in the field of photojournalism for a school project she was assigned. At first I wasn’t sure how serious she was, but after a few more emails back and forth, we solidified a plan for us to meet up and have me mentor her in the field of photojournalism.


The first time we met, we researched documentary photography/photographers, and I shared my personal experiences with her as a news photographer. I told her about the challenges of being a news photographer such as trying to sum up a story in one photo and covering a story so that it is balanced and unbiased. I also shared with her how I felt I grew as a person by learning about how our communities work with all different segments contributing to making things run smoothly.


I assigned her some homework at the end of our first session. She was to pick an event to cover in the community and shoot a photo story. We had discussed the kinds of photos she should shoot and how to approach telling the story through her images. She decided to cover Whale Day in Kihei which was taking place the following Saturday. We decided the next time we’d meet up, we would edit her story and maybe go out and shoot together.


We met up again about a month later, edited her story down to five photos and then decided she would create a front page newspaper layout of her story, with a little help from me. We figured out a nice design for the photos and then headed to Kinko’s so we could print the photos out to size and buy some poster board.


Teen girl in raspberry colored shirt uses a long ruler to lay out her photo story on poster board.

Thereese shot an event then laid out her 5-photo story into a front page newspaper design.


With a little bit of cutting and pasting and hand printing the headlines herself, Thereese had, within a few hours, created a front page layout of her photo story.  Not only did she learn about photojournalism and newspaper design, but I also got a lot out of the experience. I was able to share my knowledge and watch her take that and create something with it. Rewarding beyond words! Thanks, Thereese for letting me take you back to my newspaper roots.

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