During their week at SMI students typically select from among the following specializations in which to be immersed four hours each day during the week. In these hands-on courses, students use their new skills to produce real content to bring home. An updated list of specializations for SMI ’21 will come soon.

Anchoring and On-Air Performance

Improve your on-air performance skills. From anchoring newscasts and going live in the field, students will learn new techniques and get to practice and improve their level of performance. They will also learn the finer points of shooting standups for TV news stories.

Broadcast News Reporting

With basic training with cameras, editing and scriptwriting, students will cover assigned news stories in the field and generate news packages for presentation. Teams of students will cover an assignment, with each student getting to write and edit his or her own version of the story as a news package. Each student will shoot a stand-up for their story and create voiceovers.

Feature Writing

So, you want to be a writer? Fantastic! Learn to produce deeply reported, engaging and informative feature stories for newspapers, magazines and digital platforms. You’ll learn how to tell a story that hooks readers and keeps them going to the end. How do you develop an idea and pitch it successfully to an editor? How do you conduct interviews and use your observational skills to be able to craft compelling scenes? What are some ways to sharpen your writing and self-edit your stories? We’ll discuss all these aspects of feature writing and you will walk out a real storyteller.

Filmmaking: The Reel Narrative

This will be a hands-on workshop for aspiring documentary filmmakers looking to expand their audio-visual storytelling skills. The workshop will focus on filming a compelling character through interviews and b-roll and basic editing, all toward creating a polished short story.

Modern Magazine Production

This is a great class for students with a newspaper and or yearbook background. During camp, participants will create a magazine, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in writing, design and photography along with collaboration, creativity and problem-solving.


At the core of journalism is the story. In this advanced course you will take your news reporting skills to a new level. Be careful though, fact errors will kill a story.


We will take a detailed look at the importance of still images telling a story. Special emphasis on capturing moments and various elements of composition. We’ll take a look at prize-winning pictures, artistic material posted to Instagram and photos published by globetrotting UF alumni from London to Beijing. You will develop a new set of eyes to look at the world through your camera. Photos for your publications and personal images will get noticed.


Learn to podcast like a journalist. There are many ways to podcast but in this specialization you will learn the proper techniques and skills required to make a podcast that people want to listen to. You will learn how to research and layout your topic and storyboard your podcast. Then you will be guided through the journalistic techniques needed to gather the elements to tell your story. After you have your content, switch into producer mode and learn how to use editing software to construct your podcast narrative. Lastly, a product isn’t done until it’s shared so we will learn how to get our podcasts published and promoted. Come learn podcasting and go home with a few episodes of your own to show for it!

Social Media Marketing and Public Interest Communications

Learn to use the tools of storytelling to make the world better. What makes an issue you are passionate about turn into a movement? Why does it seem that people care about some issues and not others? How can we create positive social change? Learn how to tell stories that make people care and how to use strategic communications to drive change.Learn the unique characteristics and audience expectations for stories presented on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. What are the best practices? What does it mean to be a digital strategist? How can a text-based story can be told in seconds on Snapchat or Instagram? How can that story be told through photos on Facebook or text-bites on Twitter? We’ll look at audience engagement metrics and what does and doesn’t work across social platforms. We’ll also dig into our smartphones to create digital stories without having to log onto a computer. (A personal smartphone is required.)

Sports Reporting

Students will receive hands-on experience just like the pros. They will produce, shoot, interview and edit their very own sports feature. We will discuss what it takes to make it in the sports field and how important networking and practical experience are to reaching success. It will be a fun, action-packed week for young sportscasters.