Freshmen enjoy 9th annual Summer Journalism Experience

Mackenna Barker | Contributing Reporter

Fifteen travel-weary freshmen from all over the country assembled in The Hullabaloo office on Aug. 17 to kick off the 9th annual Summer Journalism Experience, a program that introduces students to Tulane, specifically the newspaper, the week before classes begin.

The Hullabaloo created the program nine years ago as a way to integrate incoming freshmen.

“We realized that in terms of getting people involved in the Hullabaloo from day one, this was an excellent way,” Hullabaloo adviser Tel Bailliet said. “For the students, being able to come in early is so great, and really you have a built in support system from day one.”

Each participant is matched up with a returning staff member who will act as a mentor.

“For the students, it’s scary as hell starting college,” Bailliet said. “It’s like ‘hello, this is the biggest change in your life to date’ for most people, and to know you’re going to make that change surrounded by a very one-on-one supportive network, what could be better than that?”

The transition to college can be nerve wracking for freshmen, but the SJE has helped freshmen in the past years adjust quicker and transition more smoothly.

“I was nervous at the beginning, but it was a friendly group of people that were here and they were really helpful as mentors,” print sports editor and former SJE participant Oliver Grigg said. “Right from the get go I had people that I knew well. I was involved in an activity on campus, so it put me on a good path for the school year.”

The mentors check in with participants throughout the week and give them feedback on three separate projects they work to complete throughout the week. These projects must involve one article, but can also include photography, videography, design and editing.

The Hullabaloo staff and SJE participants hear from professionals in the field of journalism about their experiences and advice. The program gives incoming freshmen a taste of the professional side to running a newspaper.

“From what I’ve heard so far, it’s a really professional paper,” SJE participant Mary Hocking said. “They do everything for themselves, and they generate their own revenue. You’re getting some real world experience while you’re still in college, and I think that’s really important.”

The incoming freshmen get to engage in far more than just news activities. Throughout the week, the freshmen and mentors get to go out and experience New Orleans more in depth. With events such as a French Quarter tour, swamp tour, cemetery tour, and even laser tag, The Hullabaloo staff and Board have the opportunity to experience NOLA beyond the campus.

“[The SJE program] weds people to Tulane, it commits them to Tulane very, very quickly,” Bailliet said. “I honestly cannot think of anyone who transferred after coming through the SJE … I think that it’s an introduction to the campus and the city that just makes you fall in love with it.”

Through the hard work in the newsroom and the fun in the city, SJE participants have the chance to become truly invested and a part of The Hullabaloo, Tulane and New Orleans.