As a high school sophomore, Carla Gualdron ’12 joined the staff of Teens in Print (TiP), a news and opinion publication by and for students in Boston Public Schools. By the end of her senior year, she had been named editor-in-chief, and had made up her mind to study Journalism at Emerson College.
On September 6, Gualdron became program director of TiP, guiding a new generation of young writers in their reporting, their writing, and, if she has anything to do with it, their future careers as journalists.
“My involvement with TiP really was very encouraging and enriching, and I wanted to give that experience to other BPS students,” Gualdron said.
Teens in Print began in 2004 as a partnership between WriteBoston, a program created to boost writing skills and scores in Boston schools, and The Boston Globe, which prints TiP. Students pitch and cover stories and opinion pieces on topics important to them, which are published four to five times per year in print and online at bostontip.com.
Gualdron described her role as “very hands-on.” She takes students through every step of the process of writing a news story – from brainstorming ideas and figuring out sources, to helping with interviewing techniques and writing clear copy.
“I really want to give as much of an authentic experience of what it is to be a journalist as I can,” said Gualdron, who interned at the Boston Herald while at Emerson, and has written for the Herald, El Mundo, and The Enterprise.
For the latest issue, the students are working on stories that might be pitched in any professional newsroom: The charter school question on the Massachusetts ballot and the ramifications if it passes, or doesn’t; the Black Lives Matter movement; gun control; a piece about financial literacy for teens and why more of it isn’t taught in high schools.
“The fact that [Teens in Print] is completely their platform and they can say what’s important to them is the biggest appeal,” Gualdron said.
Teens in Print is a voluntary program, and many, if not most, of the TiP students would be college-bound anyway, Gualdron said. But she’s hoping that through the publication, she’s helping steer them into a field that they find exciting and fulfilling, just like she did.
And if it turns out journalism isn’t for them, she said, there are countless professions that demand solid research and writing skills.
But beyond the genuine newsroom experience and sense of direction, Gualdron is hoping TiP gives her students confidence.
“What I really want them to get out of the experience is the courage to speak up,” she said. “Because they’re talking about stories and writing stories that are important to them, it gives them the courage [to make themselves heard.] Sometimes it’s hard to talk about things when you feel like no one’s taking you seriously as a teenager.”