About the workshop

Students at the California Scholastic Press Association workshop do more in two weeks than most people do all summer.

In hands-on classes taught by media professionals and educators, you’ll learn to write clearly, think analytically and manage your time on deadline. 

Our curriculum starts with the basics of reporting and news writing. Those classes lay the groundwork for specialty classes that delve into specific coverage areas, such as politics, business and entertainment reporting.

You’ll also try your hand at other media basics, including photojournalism, television production, public relations and 1st Amendment law.

Some specialty classes change annually based on the availability of our volunteer instructors. But there are some classes you can expect every year, including:

Newswriting and lede writing: You’ll learn how to start your story with tight, bright, and accurate ledes. We’ll also teach you how to structure news stories and attribute information. 

Breaking news: News just broke on campus. Where do you go first? Who should you interview? And how do you assemble the information you’ve gathered on deadline? You’ll leave the classroom to interview sources, find information and write a story in this class that’s always a student favorite.

Feature writing: You’ll learn how to write a human-interest story and bring people to life on the page.

Police reporting: You can’t work in journalism without learning the basics of the criminal justice system, including courts and police. You’ll learn how talk to law enforcement officials, avoid police jargon and separate fact from rumor.

Photojournalism: Award-winning Associated Press photographer Chris Carlson teaches the basics of photojournalism, including how to approach subjects, compose a shot and capture the moment. You will take and edit your own photographs and discuss the ethics of photojournalism.

Public records: The best details are often found in old government buildings. You’ll visit the government center in downtown San Luis Obispo and learn how to find public records.

Running matter: Our instructors use transcripts to re-enact a real criminal trial that occurred in California. You’ll learn how to navigate a courtroom, how to take notes (because judges often don’t allow computers and phones) and write about courtroom testimony on deadline.

Sportswriting: Veteran sportswriters will teach you the basics of covering a sport, including writing about the outcome of a game and interviewing athletes and coaches.

Television production: You’ll produce a 15-minute television broadcast with your classmates in a real television studio with the help of a veteran local TV news producer.

And some time for fun, too. We work hard, but we aren’t always working. We spend an afternoon at a beautiful beach in San Luis Obispo County and explore the famous farmer’s market in downtown San Luis Obispo. There are also recreation periods scheduled most afternoons.

Informal nightly discussions: At the end of every day, you’ll get to talk casually with our instructors and counselors about their college choices and career paths. And you never know who else will drop in: Other workshop alumni frequently come to San Luis Obispo to visit and talk about their careers in journalism and other fields. Our instructors also invite coworkers from their newsrooms to discuss their work.