PRO TIPS: Journalist Gabriella Lewis speaks with students in Robertson Hall.
Photo: Kevin Birch

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program (SJP) welcomed nearly 40 rising high school seniors to campus this summer, returning to in-person instruction for the first time since 2019.

Founded in 2002, SJP offers students from low-income backgrounds who have an interest in journalism the chance to learn more about the field as well as receive guidance and counseling for a year on topics such as the college application process. After three years of running the program on Zoom, this year, SJP switched to a hybrid program, with students from all over the country spending two and a half weeks together online before convening at Princeton for 10 days in August.

“They advertise it as a program where everybody is here to support you, and that feeling is so overwhelming from the second you walk in,” said Alexa Garner, a student journalist from rural Tennessee. “I’ve never had so many people all wanting me to succeed and really willing to do whatever they can in their power to help me.”

Students learned the basics of journalism through lectures and workshops, held a press conference and conducted man-on-the-street interviews, and published their work in print and online in The Princeton Summer Journal.

“Having this experience just literally made me want to go into journalism so bad,” said Alex Chen, a student from Brooklyn, New York.

Tieisha Tift, assistant director for college preparation initiatives at Princeton’s Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity, said the hybrid format helped build community earlier than in previous summers, which enabled students and counselors to skip the awkwardness that can come along with meeting face-to-face. And just as Zoom fatigue hit, the group “spark[ed] some energy with the in-person experience.”

“It felt so good to be back,” Tift said. 

READ the 2023 Princeton Summer Journal at