Local student journalists reflect on unprecedented SRL fellowship

Arlington, Va.––Eight students from the Washington, D.C. area joined the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) for its annual Homegrown fellowship. This year’s fellows set out to create profiles on first-time voters, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, plans shifted. 

In addition to completing their voter profiles remotely, Homegrown fellows also helped produce ‘Alone Together,’ a mini-documentary on teens living under quarantine.

Hear what some of the fellows had to say about their experience: 

Bridgette Adu-Wadier

Though it was unfortunate that this fellowship was interrupted by COVID-19, I learned even more about how to produce video in creative ways in quarantine…In trying times like these, you definitely don’t need the fanciest camera and microphone. Homegrown taught me to make excellent use of what I had. And there are various ways to tell stories outside of a traditional news package.

Alex O’Sullivan

The most challenging part of the process to me was learning the technical details of operating a camera because video journalism was entirely new to me upon starting the fellowship, and I learned so much these past couple months about the entire process.

Sophia Kianni

It gave me a behind the scenes look at how the journalism world operates and definitely made me a lot more interested in potentially pursuing journalism as a career.


John Barnes

I really liked learning about journalism and in the end seeing that it’s all about the story. I wanted to show how similar what everyone was going through, the changes in life due to the pandemic. 


Emilio Tognelli

A lot of the creative ideas, like the logo and the squares [for footage] were ideas of the whole group, that we arranged during zoom calls. It was a group effort. Everyone had some input on how to edit it. 


Khulan Erdenedalai

I had never done an interview in a conversational style. And editing that was really fun, I watched it over and over again. We had overexposed the shot, so I had to spend a lot of time color correcting. 


Reina Cooper

It’s really awesome that we have the opportunity to make a story out of our situation. As a teenager, it was really comforting to work with other teenagers even though we’re not together.


Liam De Luce

Beforehand, many projects that I’ve done they’ve been by myself, but it was nice to do this more collaboratively, and do this with other people. I really liked that. 



Watch the Homegrown Fellowship’s finale showcase here.