By Meredith Patterson, ’12 (June 2012)
All who have passed through the New England High School Journalism Collaborative (NEHSJC) have been given more than just the opportunity to work with professional journalists and exposure to the industry. They have been fortunate to have been graced by a woman of the highest caliber.
Carole Remick — who died last year at age 78 — dedicated the last 25 years of her life to the NEHSJC, taking a program that was once struggling, raising it up and exceeding expectations.
Remick was teaching at UMass Boston when she was approached about heading and reviving a program that introduced high school students to the world of journalism. As an English professor who primarily taught professional writing courses, Remick had no background or experience in the journalism field and was faced with a list of challenges.
The first roadblock that Remick ran into was establishing professional connections. New to journalism herself, she knew that it would be key to find a professional staff of journalists to help guide the program.
“Those of us in the business thought it was a little strange. What made her think she could do this?,” recalled Paul Makishima, an editor with The Boston Globe.
She slowly started networking with newspapers such as The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and The Telegram & Gazette of Worcester. She began recruiting professional journalists to act as writing coaches and newspaper managers for the program.
“I couldn’t figure out why this lady who had no journalism background was so interested in getting kids interested in working in a newsroom,” said Michelle Johnson, at the time an editor for The Boston Globe, currently a professor at Boston University. “I didn’t question it, though, because I felt the same way and wanted to be involved in any effort that encouraged young people to be journalists.”
Remick was tasked to find the most important element of the program — the students.
She quickly began writing letters to different high school English teachers across the state asking if they had any students interested in journalism, focusing on inner-city and minority students.
She began creating a list of journalism teachers and after talking to them it soon became apparent that many teachers held concerns about teaching journalism. Many felt that as English teachers they were not experienced or trained to teach journalism and that they just acted as advisors. They also expressed that due to budget cuts there weren’t always funds to publish a newspaper.
This spurred Remick to create the NEHSJC. Tapping into her professional network she created educational workshops for teachers who wanted to teach journalism.
In the very beginning stages, Remick struggled to get the program back on its feet. “But she was very stubborn and she would not give up,” stated Makishima.
It is clear that she didn’t, as the NEHSJC effort is celebrating its 25 anniversary due to Remick’s dedication and love of the kids that came through the program.
“She was a teacher, a mother, a mentor, an advisor, an advocate for each and every one of them,” said Leah Lamson, editor of The Telegram & Gazette.
Ann Moritz, a former resource manager at The Boston Globe and NEHSJC board member, attributes Remick with the success of the program. “She breathed the consistency that the program needed to sustain itself. The rest is history,” she said.