Pre-College Journalism Institute Program

The Summer Journalism Institute offers rising sophomores, juniors and seniors an opportunity to explore journalistic techniques and approaches to produce journalism in a variety of digital formats. Applicants selected for this three-week intensive program channel their interests in news, storytelling, and communicating. Whether it is with words, pictures and/or sound, this program explores the capacity to report news and feature stories in print, broadcast, online, and over mobile technology. Students move beyond the traditional methods of communicating news and explore using blogs, microblogs, texting, Twitter, Vine, and their mobile devices to find and interview sources, take and format pictures, and shoot and edit video to create journalism packages online and on the air. The program takes advantage of Emerson College's state-of-the-art journalism labs to give students the ultimate multimedia learning experience.

Please note: This program targets students who have an intense interest in reporting the news and who want to gain the knowledge and skills to either join or start a high school newspaper or television station, and for high school journalists looking to improve upon their skills in print and/or broadcast and want to expand their projects to the web.

Learning Outcomes

The Summer Journalism Institute for High School Students focuses on developing and strengthening a greater sense of news literacy and journalistic techniques. Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • Identify and synthesize the latest news trends and practices (news literacy) and ethics
  • Compose, photograph and format pictures for news
  • Shoot and edit video for news packages
  • Work in pairs to conduct interviews
  • Practice and demonstrate how to determine reputable sources of information by delving into who did the original work
  • Write headlines and post stories on the Journalism Institute website
  • Develop better online searching methods to find useful and relevant information
  • Recognize the difference between news and commentary
  • Discern values of transparency, objectivity, fairness, balance, diversity of perspective and insight
  • Produce feature stories on parallel pre-college summer programs for the multimedia blog
  • Co-anchor television news studio presentations
  • Develop materials to demonstrate writing and communication skills for college entrance portfolio by producing multimedia news and feature stories to be published on the Journalism Institute website.

Final Presentation

On the final day of the Institute, the group will present a sample of their work to an audience of family, friends, and peers. Presentation: July 29, 2016.

Program Dates and Costs

Program Dates (including required orientation): July 10–July 29, 2016
Final Presentation: July 29, 2016
Move-out day for on-campus students: July 30, 2016–by noon

The Journalism Institute for High School Students is a noncredit program.

Journalism Institute Costs Per Student:

  • Residential: $5,181
  • Commuter: $3,204

Lunch, Monday through Friday is included. The residential option includes room, linens, breakfast and dinner on weekdays, and brunch and dinner on weekends.

Priority application deadline: May 2, 2016

Final application deadline: June 13, 2016
Note: International students final application deadline is May 23, 2016.

Non-refundable application fee: $60. The application fee is separate from the cost for this program.

Who Should Apply

High school students entering grades 10, 11, and 12 during the 2017–2018 academic school year, and who will be 15 to 18 years old as of July 10, 2017 are eligible to apply. The program is suited for the high school student who has an intense interest in reporting the news and wants to gain knowledge and skills to either join or start his/her high school newspaper or television station. Current high school journalists looking to improve upon their skills for print or broadcast and who want to expand their projects to the web are also welcome to apply.

Applying is easy. Submit the required institute application form (completed and signed) a $60 non-refundable application fee, and the following:

  • Student Statement of Purpose: In one or two pages, please describe 1) what you hope to achieve during the Institute, and 2) an event you feel has prepared you for the Institute.
  • Essay: Discuss your strengths and weaknesses regarding your writing, reporting skills, editing skills, experience with blogging, and your ability to collaborate with others. Please include which platform of journalism you feel most comfortable and least comfortable to work in.
  • Teacher Recommendation Form: Please submit at least one recommendation, completed by a teacher who knows your work. If possible, the teacher should know your work in the field to which you are applying.
  • Work Samples: one or two samples of your work, such as any relevant web links that offer further information about your ability and recent work, including Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, or online school newspaper.
  • Résumé of your journalistic work

Admission to Emerson College's Journalism Institute is on a rolling basis. Space is limited, so please apply early.

Priority application deadline: May 2, 2016

Final application deadline: June 13, 2016

Students who are accepted will receive an acceptance letter along with instructions for confirming their place in the program.

The International Student Application Deadline is May 23, 2016. Visit international student information to learn about additional required application materials and find out more about applying to pre-college programs and institutes.

Program Schedule

Monday through Friday, 9:00 am–5:00 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am–noon

Week 1
During the first week of the Summer Journalism Institute, students will explore the values and styles of journalistic presentations by exploring different writing and visual storytelling forms. They will learn how to develop information, sources and visuals for those different forms so they can produce 1-2 news stories for the Institute website and blog. Each student will report, write copy; and shoot and format pictures for multimedia web stories. By the end of the week, students will have produced a photo slideshow story, a text and photo multimedia story, and/or a man-on-the-street audio and text report. They will explore different types of writing from hard news to opinion to feature, and participate in writing drills.

Week 2
During the second week of the program, students will expand their understanding and use of different styles of journalistic storytelling by adding video, and on-air skills to their repertoire. In pairs, students will cover an outdoor event with video to produce a news story. They will edit video and provide a story for their on-air studio activities as well as a multimedia story of text and video for the website. They also will focus a multimedia feature story project: A Day in the Life of an Emerson College Summer Program. Students will be divided into pairs and each team will chronicle one of Emerson College’s high school summer programs (Filmmakers Studio, Musical Theatre Studio, Acting Studio, Stage Design Studio, Creative Writers Workshop). They will use that material for their on-air studio work promoting their stories. Students will begin work on developing an e-portfolio and establishing a professional voice and presence online and via social media.

Week 3
During the third week, students will break into two teams, choose newsroom managers for those teams and create their own 10-minute broadcast consisting of five new stories per group. Students in each team will work as designers, developers, editors, reporters, and anchors, to optimize video and web interaction. Each editorial team determines its newsroom jobs and assignments, puts together story assignment “budgets” for broadcast and web, organizes show rundowns, and modifies and enhances stories for web presentation. In-studio production of the newscast will be completed Friday morning for presentation on Friday afternoon. Faculty and graduate assistants will serve as executive producers, consulting and providing backup support, but students by this point will be expected to handle the entire production on their with independence. Instead of working with pre-formulated templates, students must generate their own story ideas and see them through to completion.

Institute activities often include News of the Day: Quizzes and discussions of the day’s events via newspapers and website review; Who Can You Trust?: How to verify sources of news and sources in news; news in entertainment, the news behind the fun (John Oliver segments, The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live). The program may also include several opportunities to hear from professional guest speakers and visits to local news outlets such as WBUR-FM (NPR) or WHDH (Channel 7).

General Academic Policies

  • Emerson College Journalism students are expected to attend all classes to which they are assigned, participate fully in classes, and complete all requirements as outlined by their instructors.
  • In addition, all students – including commuter students – are expected to adhere to the program’s General and Residential Life Policies as outlined in the Emerson College Arts and Communication Pre-College Program Student Handbook.
  • Emerson College and the Journalism Institute have a zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy.

The Residence Hall

Emerson College Summer Journalism Institute for High School Students offers on-campus housing in a supervised, air-conditioned, and secured residence hall. Students are often housed in four- and six-person suites with two- and three-person rooms. Each suite consists of a common area and bathroom. Each resident is provided with a bed frame, mattress, desk, desk chair, closet or wardrobe unit, dresser, and individual Internet port. Every room is equipped with a cable jack.

Housing assignments are based on gender, age, and similar interests. Students who cause damage to their rooms or common areas or who lose their room keys will be subject to additional fees.


Students will be supervised by professional staff and student staff members who live on campus, explain College policy, refer residents to College services and offices, respond to emergency situations, and act as a general source of support for student residents.

Arts and Communication Pre-College Studio Programs

Emerson College offers five-week summer programs for high school students. If you are interested in pre-college programs in filmmaking, stage acting, musical theatre performance, stage design, or creative writing, please visit Arts and Communication Pre-College Programs.


Note: Pre-College Programs are not eligible for Emerson College tuition benefits.

The online application process for Summer 2017 will open December 15, 2016.