AAJA’s JCamp is a national multicultural journalism program for high school students.
The six-day training camp brings together culturally diverse students from across the nation to learn from veteran journalists and leading media executives. JCamp participants will receive hands-on training and produce multiplatform news packages for the program’s news site, JCamp Live. Since 2001, over 700 high school students have graduated from JCamp. Every year, AAJA receives hundreds of applications from all regions of the country.
JCamp was started in 2001 as a response to the industry’s diversity crisis. The program is designed to help assure excellence in the profession for decades to come and to confront the lack of diversity in journalism, not just in race, but also in matters of religious background, political background and other factors. Since the program began, hundreds of the nation’s most talented teenagers have graduated. Early surveys of JCamp students indicated that approximately 75% went on to pursue journalism in college. With a multicultural team, media get more accurate perspectives on stories of Latinos, African Americans, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and Middle Eastern Americans.
With a diverse team, readers and viewers get different views on city governments, local communities, business, entertainment and recreation, science and medicine, and national and international issues.
AAJA’s JCamp is a national multicultural journalism program for high school students. The six-day training camp brings together culturally diverse students from across the nation to learn from veteran journalists and leading media executives. JCamp participants will receive hands-on training and produce multiplatform news packages for the program’s news site, JCamp Live.
JCamp’s goal is to develop the next generation of journalists. This six-day training camp brings together a multicultural group of high school students from across the nation to sharpen their journalism skills and work together in a unique learning environment. The curriculum consists of interactive workshops, hands-on training and field trips.
Selected students demonstrate a keen interest in broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, photojournalism or online media. This program is not limited to Asian American students, but to all high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. There is no fee to apply and all costs are covered — including airfare, lodging and meals. Students stay in university housing during the camp week.
JCamp strives to confront the lack of diversity in journalism, in regards to race, socioeconomics, geography, religion, sexual orientation and identity. The camp strives to ensure excellence in the profession for decades to come. Through this culture of excellence and diversification, JCamp cultivates the voices and views of our future media leaders on government, human interest, entertainment, recreation, science, medicine, and national and international news.
The curriculum focuses on teaching and ingraining the following core principles:
The Value of Cross-Cultural Communication Skills
This heightened awareness comes from interactions with peers and mentors from completely different environments and backgrounds, along with training in the basics of effective interpersonal skills and the importance of creating inclusive environments as colleagues and journalists.
The Fundamentals of Leadership
Faculty work with students on persuasive communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, project management, developing a personal identity and accountability.
The Importance of Diversity in the Newsroom and in Media Coverage
JCamp fosters an appreciation for diverse viewpoints and reporting in diverse communities. Students also learn why it is important that media outlets reflect the communities they cover.
Strong Ethics in Journalism Practice
Students gain an understanding of the universal ethics of good journalism and the responsibilities of the media to cover communities with sensitivity and high standards.
The Value of Networking & Career Mapping
Regardless of a student’s eventual career choice, each will go home with an understanding of how to pursue a profession and an appreciation for the importance of networking and building relationships with mentors and peers
Since the first JCamp in 2001, more than 700 of the nation’s brightest young people have graduated from JCamp. Some of the graduates of JCamp have gone on to become professional journalists. A few of these alumni include:
- Terrell Brown, JCamp 2002: After attending JCamp, Brown was awarded a full scholarship for broadcasting excellence by the National Press Club. In 2009, at age 22, Brown was named a CBS News correspondent — the youngest in that network’s history.
- Jessica Carballo, JCamp 2004: Carballo won the Sun-Sentinel Correspondent of the Year Award, the Sun-Sentinel scholarship upon high school graduation, and she was the Miami Herald Silver Knight Winner in Journalism. She worked as an ABC production intern at WPLG-TV in Miami and is a 2010 graduate of Yale University.
- Hailey Lee, JCamp 2009: Lee studied at Wellesley College and founded WCTV, the school’s satire news show. She interned at Crain’s Chicago Business before being hired permanently at CNBC. She is now an economics producer and has served as a board member for UNITY: Journalists for Diversity.
- Taylor Turner, JCamp 2010: Turner studied broadcast journalism and political communications at The University of Texas at Austin while also interning at ESPN and participating as a video journalist for The New York Times’ Student Journalism Institute in 2015. Turner worked as a production associate at ABC News before her current position as a video editor at The Washington Post.
Julia M. Chan (’03) is a Producer at CNN Special Projects where she develops and crafts feature content for the network’s portfolio of global linear and digital platforms. She serves on AAJA’s Governing Board and chairs the AAJA Awards committee. Chan is an alumna of the University of Michigan and the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Arelis R. Hernández is a Texas-based national correspondent for the Washington Post covering the US-Mexico border, immigration and other Lone Star stories. She has covered natural and human disasters, breaking news and politics both domestically and internationally for the Post since 2014. She previously covered crime for the Orlando Sentinel and graduated from the University of Maryland. She is also co-director of the Asian American Journalists Association’s high school journalism program and has volunteered since 2013.
Ben Bartenstein ('11) is a Middle East correspondent for Bloomberg News. A native of rural Wisconsin, he's reported across five continents with assignments in the UAE, the US, Peru, Morocco and Spain. Bartenstein graduated with a degree in International Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Timmy Huynh ('05) is an operations manager and photo editor at the Wall Street Journal. He earned a graduate degree from the Missouri School of Journalism and currently lives in New York City with his wife Paige.
Applications for the 2023 JCamp cohort are now closed. Stay tuned for our cohort announcement!
High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors are encouraged to apply. Students selected for the program have all costs covered including airfare, campus housing and meals.
AAJA welcomes donations to its student and professional programs throughout the year. Your donation to the JCamp program will go a long way toward helping the students produce quality work and gain valuable newsroom experience!
From the JCamp archives
Frequently Asked Questions About JCamp 2023
The timeline for JCamp 2023 will be the week of July 15-21. We are returning to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. this coming summer.
The JCamp 2023 program will continue to face the unique challenges of balancing public and personal health concerns in the pandemic era with our in-person programming. In light of the uncertainty, JCamp 2023 staff will closely monitor public health guidelines and follow all rules outlined by our host site. We will also be requiring proof of vaccination to attend the program.
No. We will close applications on March 17, 2023. At that time, no other applications or letters of recommendation will be accepted.
With continuing uncertainty about pandemic risks and other considerations, we are planning on accepting around 25-30 students for 2023.
We are looking for your genuine self. We accept students of all backgrounds from the biggest coastal cities to Midwestern cul-de-sac to the remotest parishes and ranches of the United States. If you love or like journalism and communications, tell us your story and/or why you want to apply to this journalism program specifically.
JCamp is free for everyone accepted. All fares are paid for! (Travel, housing, program costs, etc).
Traditionally, students share a college dorm room with one other accepted JCamp student. We are working with our host partner to develop a housing strategy that prioritizes health and well-being as part of our pandemic precautions. Additional health considerations may be necessary.
JCamp is a program for current high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Priority is given to second- and third- year students but exceptional freshmen are encouraged to apply. If you are a high school senior, look out for more information about AAJA’s VOICES college program this summer.
No. The deadline to apply for JCamp 2023 is March 17, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PST. We will release the list of all students accepted to this year’s 2023 JCamp cohort later in the spring.