12 Reasons to Do JCamp

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

high school students in a class

12 Reasons to Do JCamp

In journalism and media, opportunities like JCamp are particularly notable for offering compelling reasons to participate. Designed to nurture the next generation of journalists, this program offers an immersive experience beyond traditional learning methods.

This blog explores the benefits of participating in JCamp, a program that hones your journalistic skills and prepares you for a successful career in media.

12 Reasons to Do JCamp

JCamp represents a comprehensive training ground for aspiring journalists, providing a structured environment to cultivate essential skills and forge meaningful connections within the industry.

This immersive experience is tailored to equip participants with a robust foundation in journalism, from traditional reporting techniques to the latest digital storytelling methods.

Let’s explore the reasons to join JCamp, emphasizing networking opportunities and skill development.


1. Networking Opportunities

Networking is a top reason to do JCamp, offering a unique chance to meet industry experts and peers. These connections are crucial for gaining insights, mentorship, and uncovering job opportunities.

The diversity of JCamp’s participants ensures a broad network, allowing for rich exchanges of ideas and experiences. This network can lead to internships and collaborations that are invaluable for a budding journalist’s career, making it a pivotal part of the JCamp experience.

2. Skill Development

Skill development is central to JCamp, focusing on essential journalism skills like writing, reporting, and digital media. The program’s practical approach ensures that participants can apply what they learn directly, making the learning process more effective.

By covering everything from traditional reporting techniques to digital storytelling, JCamp prepares participants for the industry’s demands.

These skills are crucial for personal growth and professional success, highlighting another key reason for doing JCamp.

3. Mentorship

Mentorship at JCamp provides direct access to seasoned journalists who guide, critique, and support participants. This relationship is vital for understanding the profession and navigating a media career.

Mentors offer personalized advice and share experiences, helping participants shape their career paths. This mentorship, often extending beyond JCamp, provides clarity and direction for participants’ futures in journalism.

4. Diverse Perspectives

JCamp champions diversity, exposing students to various cultures and ideas, which is one of the compelling reasons to do JCamp. This approach enriches learning and prepares students for the global media scene. Interacting with peers from different backgrounds, participants expand their understanding and learn to appreciate the wealth of stories that diversity brings to journalism.

This environment enhances their storytelling skills and fosters empathy and cultural awareness. As the media industry increasingly values global perspectives, JCamp’s focus on diversity equips students with the skills to report on diverse communities thoughtfully and accurately.

5. Portfolio Building

At JCamp, students produce journalistic works that become key components of their portfolios. These pieces demonstrate their ability to apply classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios, making their portfolios stand out in college and job applications.

The process of assembling a portfolio at JCamp is guided and intentional, aimed at showcasing students’ best work and growth as journalists.

This aspect of JCamp is critical, as a strong portfolio can significantly influence future educational and career opportunities in the competitive field of journalism.

6. Hands-On Experience

Real-world journalism experience is a cornerstone of JCamp, allowing students to apply their skills in practical settings. This hands-on approach simulates the challenges of a professional newsroom, including deadlines and ethical dilemmas.

Students gain a realistic understanding of a journalist’s responsibilities by working on projects, conducting interviews, and producing content.

This experience is invaluable, building their confidence and preparing them for the demands of a media career. JCamp’s focus on practical experience ensures students are ready to enter and excel in journalism.

7. Career Exploration

One of the key reasons to do JCamp is the opportunity for career exploration. JCamp introduces participants to various roles within the journalism and media industry.

Whether uncovering stories as an investigative reporter, capturing moments through photojournalism, or engaging audiences via digital content, students get a firsthand look at various career options.

Through discussions with professionals and exposure to different media platforms, participants gain insight into what each path entails.

This knowledge is crucial for making informed decisions about their future, guiding them toward a career that aligns with their interests and skills in the ever-evolving media landscape.

8. Innovative Learning Environment

JCamp stands out for its interactive and engaging learning environment. Unlike traditional classrooms, JCamp encourages hands-on learning through projects that mirror real journalistic work.

Students use modern technology and media tools, diving into digital storytelling and experimenting with new formats. This approach enhances technical skills and sparks creativity and a love for innovation.

By tackling actual journalism projects, students experience the satisfaction of seeing their efforts recognized, which fuels their passion for the field.

This innovative environment prepares participants for the dynamic nature of journalism, equipping them with the adaptability and creative thinking needed for success.

a group of students doing a high five

9. Leadership Skills

Developing leadership skills is another fundamental aspect of JCamp. The program empowers students to take charge of projects and lead teams, providing practical experience in leadership. Participants hone essential skills like effective communication, problem-solving, and teamwork through directing efforts and collaborating with peers.

Leadership roles at JCamp teach students how to inspire others, manage deadlines, and handle challenges, invaluable skills for any journalist.

This focus on leadership prepares participants for journalism and any field where they aim to make an impact, fostering the ability to lead, innovate, and drive positive change.

10. Scholarship Opportunities

One of the main reasons to do JCamp is its scholarships and financial aid. These offerings ensure that JCamp is accessible to all students passionate about journalism, no matter their financial situation.

By providing these scholarships, JCamp allows more students to explore their interest in journalism in a supportive environment.

This approach helps students attend the program and promotes a diverse group of young journalists, enriching the future media landscape.

11. Recognition and Awards

At JCamp, students can be recognized for their hard work. This recognition is more than just praise—it’s an opportunity for young journalists to stand out early in their careers.

Awards at JCamp can lead to more educational opportunities, internships, and even job offers. This recognition is a key reason to do JCamp, as it provides young journalists with motivation and credibility that can significantly influence their future in the media industry.

12. Fun and Friendship

JCamp is about making friends and having fun. The program brings together students from various backgrounds, allowing them to share stories and learn from each other. The friendships formed here go beyond the program, offering a support network for years.

JCamp’s activities encourage teamwork and community, showing journalism is about collaboration and shared experiences. This environment makes JCamp a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

What is JCamp?

JCamp is an innovative program organized by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) that focuses on journalism through the lens of cultural diversity. It targets high school students with a passion for media, offering them a unique opportunity to dive deep into the world of journalism.

Since its inception in 2001, JCamp has made significant strides in addressing the diversity gap in the media industry, equipping over 700 students with the tools and knowledge to pursue careers in journalism.

At its core, JCamp is a six-day immersive program that unites high school students from various cultural backgrounds across the United States.

The primary goal of JCamp is to educate and inspire young individuals by exposing them to experienced journalists and media executives, offering compelling reasons to do JCamp for those interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

This exposure is not just theoretical; it involves hands-on training where participants actively produce news content, embracing multiplatform journalism for JCamp’s news site, JCamp Live.

The rationale behind JCamp’s establishment was to counteract the lack of diversity within journalism. The initiative is grounded in the belief that a diverse media workforce can provide more comprehensive and nuanced coverage of stories, reflecting the true spectrum of society.

Young woman reading a speech for a podcasts.

By fostering diversity in race, religion, socioeconomic status, geography, and more, JCamp aims to enrich media narratives and ensure that underrepresented voices are heard.

The program proudly boasts that a significant portion of its alumni continue to pursue journalism at the collegiate level, thereby contributing to a more inclusive media landscape.

JCamp’s curriculum is designed to be both engaging and educational, covering a wide range of journalistic practices and principles.

Participants receive training in various media formats, including broadcasting, newspaper, magazine, photojournalism, and online platforms.

The program emphasizes developing key skills such as cross-cultural communication, leadership, ethical journalism, and the importance of diversity in newsrooms.

Additionally, JCamp facilitates networking opportunities, allowing students to build connections that can support their future careers.

Who is eligible to apply?

Understanding who is eligible to apply for the program is essential for high school students seeking opportunities to enrich their educational journey.

The program specifically targets current high school sophomores (10th graders) and juniors (11th graders), aiming to engage students who are at a pivotal stage in their academic careers.

Here’s a detailed look at the eligibility requirements and their rationale:

Sophomores (10th Graders)

Students have acclimated to high school life and are beginning to look forward to their future academic and career goals.

The program is designed to cater to sophomores by offering them a chance to explore and develop their skills and interests further, preparing them for the challenges of upper high school years and beyond.

Juniors (11th Graders)

Juniors are often at a critical decision-making point regarding their post-secondary plans. The program leverages this timing to provide juniors with valuable experiences and insights that can influence their final year of high school and their choices after graduation.

Juniors are considered particularly well-suited for the program due to their maturity and readiness to engage with more rigorous content.

Membership Requirements

While being a member of the associated organization (AAJA) is not a prerequisite for application, it is encouraged.

Membership provides numerous benefits, including access to resources, networks, and opportunities beneficial for personal and academic growth, all for a discounted rate of $25.

Importantly, the program and AAJA are inclusive, welcoming students from all backgrounds, making it one of the compelling reasons to do JCamp. Therefore, you do not need to be Asian to apply for or benefit from the membership.

How to Apply to JCamp

The application process for JCamp is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of each applicant beyond traditional metrics like grades and test scores.

It comprises written essays, short answers, and a short video submission, each serving a unique purpose in helping the selection committee get to know you better.

Here’s how you can manage the application process efficiently and effectively.

the word admission flashed unto a laptop screen


Start the Process Early

The application window for JCamp opens in early January and closes in early March. It’s advisable to begin the application process well before the deadline.

Starting early provides you with sufficient time to carefully consider and prepare your responses, gather necessary documents, and address any potential technical issues that may arise.

This proactive approach ensures a smoother application process and allows for a more thoughtful and polished submission.

Application Components

  • Written Essays: The essays are a pivotal part of the application, allowing you to articulate your experiences, aspirations, and perspectives. They require thoughtful reflection and multiple drafts to capture your authentic voice and narrative effectively. These essays are your chance to make a compelling case for your candidacy, highlighting your unique qualities and how they align with JCamp’s values.
  • Short Answers: This section is designed to elicit concise yet insightful responses that reveal more about your personality, interests, and how you think. These answers should be direct but reflective, providing a snapshot of who you are in a few words.
  • Short Video: The video submission is an innovative way to introduce yourself to the selection committee more personally and dynamically. It should convey your character and enthusiasm for JCamp. Keep the content genuine and focused, ensuring it complements the written parts of your application.

The Review Process

A diverse panel of JCamp alumni and faculty will thoroughly review your application. This multi-tiered review ensures that each application is evaluated from various perspectives, reflecting a fair and comprehensive assessment process.

The reviewers aim to discern applicants’ potential for growth, contribution to the JCamp community, and alignment with the program’s values.

After a meticulous review process, applicants are informed about the decision through email, ensuring each candidate’s application is carefully considered.

Importance of Meeting Deadlines

All components of the application, including the letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the early March deadline. It’s crucial to adhere to this timeline, as late submissions are not accepted.

Ensuring all documents and recommendations are prepared and submitted on time is essential for a complete application.

The JCamp application process is thoughtfully designed to capture the essence of each applicant. It offers multiple avenues to showcase your abilities, character, and potential contributions to the JCamp environment.

Understanding the importance of each component and adhering to the recommended timelines, including considering reasons to do JCamp, can help you craft a compelling application that truly represents you.

Remember, the key to a successful application lies in early preparation, authenticity in your responses, and adherence to deadlines.

Benefits of JCamp beyond Journalism

JCamp offers far more than just journalism skills. It prepares participants for any career path, making it a valuable experience for all involved. Here’s how:

  • Critical Thinking: At JCamp, students learn to analyze information, ask the right questions, and separate fact from bias. These skills are crucial in journalism and daily decision-making, creative problem-solving, and navigating today’s complex world.
  • Communication Skills: JCamp emphasizes clear and persuasive written and spoken communication. These skills are key in any job, aiding presentations, negotiations, and team collaborations. Participants also learn to listen and empathize, improving their ability to work with others.
  • Adaptability: JCamp students learn to adapt to new information and challenges quickly. This resilience and flexibility are vital in a fast-changing job market, where learning new skills can make a big difference.
  • Confidence and Self-Awareness: JCamp boosts participants’ confidence and self-awareness through its challenges and opportunities. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses helps students pursue their interests and face challenges positively.
  • Networking and Collaboration: JCamp is a chance to build a network of supportive peers and mentors. These relationships can offer guidance and opportunities long after the program ends. Collaborative projects teach the value of teamwork and diverse perspectives.
  • Leadership Skills: JCamp gives students leadership opportunities, teaching them to lead teams, make decisions, and complete projects. These experiences develop qualities like initiative, responsibility, and the ability to motivate others.
  • Creativity and Innovation: The program encourages creative storytelling across various media. This fosters creativity and innovation, urging students to think differently and explore new solutions.

a journalist holding a microphone whole looking at the camera

JCamp Success Stories

JCamp’s impact shines through its alumni’s achievements. They’ve moved on to top colleges, snagged internships at leading news outlets, and earned accolades for their work.

These stories highlight JCamp’s role in shaping journalism’s future, making it a valuable experience for aspiring journalists.

Advancing to Top Colleges

JCamp graduates often head to renowned universities, where they stand out in journalism and media studies.

Their JCamp experience, including portfolio work, is key to their college success. This shows how JCamp prepares students for journalism and also for academic excellence.

Landing Internships at Major Media Outlets

JCamp alumni have secured internships and roles at places like The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post. The skills and connections from JCamp give them an edge, allowing them to contribute meaningfully to these prestigious platforms.

Winning Journalism Awards

Many JCamp graduates have been honored for their reporting and storytelling, receiving national awards and scholarships. This recognition proves JCamp’s commitment to high-quality journalism and ethical reporting.

Influencing Journalism’s Future

JCamp alumni’s success stories are a testament to the program’s effectiveness. It teaches journalism and inspires the next generation, with former students often returning as mentors. This cycle enriches JCamp, keeping it relevant and impactful.

JCamp alumni success stories are powerful examples of the program’s influence on journalism. By fostering talent and innovation, JCamp helps shape future journalists, making it a pivotal experience for those interested in the field. These achievements reflect the program’s dedication to nurturing skilled and ethical journalists.


The reasons to do JCamp are as diverse as the participants themselves. From skill development and mentorship to networking and personal growth, JCamp offers an unparalleled opportunity for young journalists.

If you’re passionate about journalism and ready to take your skills to the next level, JCamp is the place to be.

Visit the JCamp website to learn more and apply today. Let your journey in journalism begin with JCamp.

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