Student Gains Real-World Experience at The New York Times Student Journalism Institute

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Regina Garcia Cano
Regina Garcia Cano, junior Kent State University newspaper journalism major and Latin American studies minor, learned to hone her journalistic skills from some of the best in the business when she attended The New York Times Student Journalism Institute Jan. 2 to 13, 2010 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The annual hands-on journalism program, offered in conjunction with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, chose 23 aspiring journalism students from 15 colleges and universities around the country to participate in this year's program. All applicants were required to be in good academic standing with a minimum of one semester of experience working for a student publication.

Cano applied for the institute because she believed it would be a great learning experience to work with and receive feedback from reporters and editors from The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

“Being selected to attend the institute meant that the experienced journalists who chose me and the other 22 students trusted our reporting skills, and we had the obligation to not betray their confidence in us,” Cano says. “During the 12 days that we worked in Tucson, we had the moral responsibility to work harder than ever before.”

The students experienced a different facet of the news business each day. On two separate occasions, Cano and another student drove to Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora in Mexico to report on the transportation of fresh produce from Mexico into the United States. Another day, she was the wire editor for the institute, and her duties included calling the police, fire departments and Border Patrol in Tucson.

Cano says she learned to be patient and persistent.

“I tried for almost a week to interview an officer from U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” Cano says. “For various reasons, he could not comment on my story immediately and needed permission from Washington to answer my questions. Seeing that my story would not be complete without a quote from him, I visited his office twice, called him about 10 times and called Homeland Security in Washington until on a Saturday morning I received a call from the officer agreeing to be interviewed the following Monday.”

The program was an opportunity for Cano to connect with other journalism students and take one step closer to her dream of positively contributing to a more accurate portrayal of Hispanics in the news.

“The experience was a continuous learning experience,” Cano says. “I enjoyed working with a group of students who are as passionate as I am about the journalism industry. Young people like me who have hope in this industry.”

To find out more about The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, visit Read more about Cano’s learning experiences at the following links:

Oh, Border Patrol? Come In, Border Patrol
What Day Is It Again? 

By Shantae Rollins

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