At college, student journalists experience growth


Clare McRoberts

Alumni Ella Beiser, Andrew Burke-Stevenson, Amanda Cassel, Andrada Nicole and Malcolm Taylor are student journalists. Some of them work on their college school newspaper and some are involved with journalism programs outside of school.

Chloe Alexander, Arts Editor

Update: May 30, 1:53 p.m.: A previous version of this story, both online and in print, stated that Andrew Burke-Stevenson attends Boston College. He is actually a student at Boston University. This story has also been updated to the correct spelling of Jayna Rumble’s name.

2021 U-High graduates Ella Beiser and Amanda Cassel remember long days working at the U-High Midway. They stayed in the journalism office until 6 p.m. some days. They edited stories again and again. They designed newspaper layouts, surrounded by peers doing the same.

These alumni said their experiences working on the Midway have stayed with them as they work on their college newspapers, and some other alumni are also finding journalism experiences in college. 

Amanda, a former Midway editor-in-chief who now attends Barnard College, found the Midway to be a place where she could grow friendships but also foster new skills. She  gained other skills, too, including leadership and collaboration. 

Amanda said, “I think journalism felt like something that I could use to sort of become my own person and, like, develop my own interest. But also, there were lots of practical skills that I could see myself getting through journalism, and I heard really good things about the program.”

For Ella, another former editor-in-chief now at Bates College, journalism was a way to build and find a community at U-High. 

“I think that when I was in high school, it felt really special to have a place where I had such a great community,” Ella said.

2021 alumna Andrada Nicolae wasn’t on the Midway staff at U-High due to schedule restrictions. But when she got to Columbia University, she knew she wanted to explore the interest in journalism she had since high school, so she joined the staff of the Columbia Spectator — the “Spec.” 

Andrada said, “For me, Spec was a way to meet people from all different years at Columbia and to get really close to people who I’d never otherwise would interact with.”

For Amanda and Andrada, journalism isn’t their intended career path, but for Ella, journalism is something she’s interested in doing for the long run. Ella said her Midway experience brought her passion for the work and a possible future field. She plans to work on a local paper this summer.

“But I think that being on the Midway in high school gave me kind of a hunch that I might want to be a journalist after college,” Ella said.

Like their editor and writer peers,  photojournalists are capturing the moment of the story beyond high school into college. 

Malcolm Taylor graduated from U-High in 2022 after three years in the photojournalism program and now attends Syracuse University. Most recently, Malcolm said he has focused on photography for fashion magazines, a shift from the newspaper and yearbook.

“Fashion photography, you literally have control over every aspect of your environment. The only thing you don’t have control of necessarily is the people there,” Malcolm said. “I was one of many photographers for the magazine that would show up to shoots, take photos, help make the models feel more confident and hype them up a bit.”

Malcolm said his time in U-High journalism helped him come out of his shell.

“I was a pretty nervous person before I really invested myself in photojournalism,” he said, “and I use that as a way to teach myself, like, how to have confidence in almost any situation, even one that I’m not familiar with.” 

Andrew Burke-Stevenson, a Boston University student who graduated from U-High in 2022, started photojournalism as a junior. As he worked on his art, his passion and love for photography grew and so did his expertise, as he started freelancing. 

Andrew said that the photojournalism at U-High, taught by Jayna Rumble, was unique from any other photography class he has taken and gave him a context that went far beyond the technology of cameras. 

Amanda and Ella’s nights in the journalism office working on pages, Andrada’s long interest in journalism and Malcolm and Andrew’s work behind the scenes with photography. Each of these journalists have found passion for journalism as a college student, allowing them to use the passion and skills in other aspects of their lives.