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Learning Tricks of the Trade

Some people dream of having their name up in lights.

Others, such as Palo Verde High School student Allison Cox, get excited by seeing their name in print, under a headline of a newspaper article published in a local metropolitan newspaper.

“I was so excited when my first article came out,” says Cox, a sophomore. “I went to the dollar store and bought like 10 copies.”

Cox is one of two dozen teenagers who write for R-Jeneration, a program run by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which produces a weekly page by and about teens that runs in the R-J on Sundays during much of the school year.

The very first R-Jeneration page ran Feb. 20, 2000.

Managing Editor Charlie Zobell and Assistant Features Editor Lindsey Losnedahl meet with the team members once a week to go over the week’s page and give students lessons on journalism techniques.

“Our goal is to introduce the kids to a new way of writing and, even if they don’t become journalists, make them better communicators,” Losnedahl says. “Good writing skills are useful in most careers.”

After the session, teens meet with their mentors, who are actual staff members of the Review-Journal, and the mentors offer advice and guidance on the stories the students are working on for the page.

Each May, R-Jeneration participants are honored for their work during the annual Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards luncheon. Two seniors are chosen from the group to receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Kelsey Thompson, a Las Vegas Academy senior, started writing for R-Jeneration last year.

“When I first saw my published article, I was like, ‘Wow, I just completed something of importance for my community today,’ ” says Thompson, a news writer for her school paper.

Shelly Jensen, a senior who’s editor-in-chief of her newspaper at Silverado High School, appreciates the experience she gains from participating in R-Jen.

“I just feel like it will be a great addition to my portfolio and I’m excited to be published in another newspaper besides the one at my school,” says Jensen, who also acts in and photographs all the theater shows at her school and is a member of her senior class committee.

Not every student on the R-Jeneration team writes articles, however.

Others, such as Durango High School senior Alexis Sypien, are photographers.

“I’m really excited about working with my mentor and learning more about photojournalism,” she says.

Flo Anwah, a Las Vegas Academy sophomore, is the resident illustrator. She says that she joined R-Jen when her cousin saw the application form in the newspaper during one of “her daily newspaper readings” and encouraged her to apply.

“I want to learn more about how illustration fits into journalism,” she explains.

And there are still more benefits to partaking in R-Jen.

“R-Jen is really fun and I like meeting all the new people that are there from all different schools,” Cox says. “Oh, yeah, and I love the food they give us. I really like the peanut M&M’s.”

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