Discovering the community journalism puzzle


Resuscitating someone back from apparent death can be quite challenging but not impossible.

I discovered my interest in writing during my internship with YO:Durham, a year long program for Durham teens that focuses on a summer career academy, an internship, service learning and being paired with a mentor.

Sharif Ruebin, Teen Editor-in-Chief, the Durham VOICE. (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

Sharif Ruebin, Teen Editor-in-Chief, the Durham VOICE. (Staff photo by Carlton Koonce)

I interned at the Durham VOICE a couple of years ago.

At the VOICE I learned about the field of journalism. I learned how to write a well- written story, how to set up an interview, how to ask the right questions, how to write different types of stories and so much more.

Interning with the VOICE led me to other journalistic opportunities in the surrounding area.

After I graduated from YO:Durham, the following school year, I was offered the task of resuscitating Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School’s newspaper back to life by the advisor, John Becker.

Sticking with tradition, Maia Crumbie, the co-editor, Becker and I wanted to keep its original name,  “Clement Chronicles.”

We kept the same name because every attempted newspaper at Early College was titled “Clement Chronicles.”  Also, I felt that I couldn’t make up a better name that would fit the newspaper.

Each month we give notice to our little community, students and faculty at JDC Early College, about upcoming interest meeting for our next monthly edition.  Generally, during the interest meetings we pitch ideas, assign stories, choose deadlines and decide on much of the work that goes into a monthly newspaper.

I see the newspaper as an artistic puzzle.  Every column and story has a specific place in regards to the content. Pictures have to go hand-in-hand with a particular story. Everything has to fit perfectly.

With help from my advisor, and the VOICE, I figured out how to shape each puzzle piece to fit my artistic puzzle.

Hard work goes into a newspaper and there is nothing like seeing my hard work paying off in its publication.

The VOICE offers a chance for young writers to write about what interests them.  Along with that, it forces writers to look at Durham with a bright eye focusing on the positive things happening in the community rather than focusing on only the negative.

It’s a vision Jock Lauterer and the VOICE have set in place.