That 2022 Marblehead High School graduate Claire Tips wound up at Indiana University is unsurprising. Both of her parents went there, after all.
But Tips did more than just become a Hoosier. She was one of 25 incoming students chosen for the school’s exclusive journalism honors program named for Ernie Pyle, the Indiana native whose reporting from the front lines of World War II earned him a Pulitzer Prize. Pyle was killed in action during the Battle of Okinawa on April 18, 1945.
As an Ernie Pyle Scholar, Tips will spend part of her sophomore year at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, receiving training on media ethics and writing, among other topics.
Next summer, Tips will head to London for an internship with a local media organization, along with some classroom learning and cultural enrichment.
But in the meantime, the Current will continue to benefit from her efforts as its first summer intern.
Tips’ internship is being funded by a grant from the Carole Remick Foundation. The foundation was established to honor the wishes of Remick, a Marblehead resident and high school English teacher who, after earning her master’s degree, became a professor at UMass Boston, where she created a journalism program to encourage minority students to enter the field.
To that end, Remick established the New England High School Journalism Collaborative in 1987, which remains the Remick Foundation’s flagship program. Students selected for the NEHSJC participate in a week-long workshop in June based at Remick’s alma mater, Regis College in Weston, reporting and writing stories for a laboratory newspaper and a multimedia site.
The following is a transcript of a conversation with Tips, edited for length and clarity.
Q. Why did you choose to go the journalism route in college?
A. When I applied [to IU], I also applied for a ton of scholarships, just to see if I could get any, and I got this letter in the mail accepting me into the Ernie Pyle scholarship program. Ernie Pyle is a staple in Indiana. They love him there, and they have statues of him all over campus.
Next summer, it’ll just be the 25 of us with our advisor, and we’ll each get an internship and work in London for six to eight weeks. We also go to Florida and do a workshop down there during spring break. There’s also a weekend Chicago trip that is optional, and I know a few of my friends who’ve done it, and they loved it. It’s been a great way to have access to professionals in the field.
Q. What are some of your favorite things that you’ve been able to write about on campus?
A. I danced for 12 years with the Boston Ballet, and I did a summer intensive with the Joffrey Ballet, so ballet was a big part of my life for a long time. There is a ballet studio at IU. When I was dancing, I was always told, “You have to join a company at age 18. You have to do a pre-professional program. You have to be homeschooled, and then you’ll retire by the time you’re 30.” That just seemed so daunting, and I always wanted to go to college.
When I heard that there was a ballet school at IU, I was like, “That’s interesting.” That was against what I was told. For one of my projects, my partner in the class and I went and interviewed a dancer who attended the school, and then I did a Zoom call interview with one of the girls that I danced with at Joffrey and compared and contrasted their two experiences.
I love personal, on-street interviews. We have a main road right off of campus where a lot of the restaurants and coffee shops are. Every spring and summer, they close off the street for outdoor seating. We had talked to our professor in class, and he said it was due to a COVID response. It’s become so much part of the atmosphere, they’ve done it annually since then.
We were interviewing people on the street, and we asked this professor-looking guy if he wanted an interview, and he said yes. In the middle of the interview, he said [of the COVID response origin of the outdoor seating], “That’s not right. You guys need to do your research.”
My partner, who was behind the camera, asked, “Are you a professor here?”
He was like, “Yes, I am the director of the journalism program.”
Of course, the color drained from our faces. We went back and we talked to our professor, and he went and found the reports from the council meetings of the town of Bloomington and found that actually we were right.
We spent a lot of time during our next class talking about what you do when someone’s very confident in what they’re saying, but it’s not true. You always just go to the documents.
Q. What have you been doing with the Current so far?
A. I’ve been working a lot with social media, and that’s something that I wasn’t really doing in school. But I think it’s so important, especially nowadays with a lot of media going digital and especially with my generation using social media as their news source.
Also, working in the newsroom and going out and collecting stories and interviewing and taking photos, which I wasn’t really doing in school. That was more of a hobby, but we have a family friend who is a professional photographer, and she was giving me some tips the other day on how to use the camera to the best of my ability.
Working with the Current — such a new news outlet — I get to see things from the ground up. I feel like that is something that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. I get to wear a lot of hats, which is fun too. I get to do a lot of things, meet a bunch of people, and I get to go out in the field and be hands on. I love that about it.
Q. If you could have any job in the journalism world, what would that be?
A. I know that I love writing, but I did just recently go to New York, and we have a family friend who works at ABC. She just graduated from Northwestern as a journalism student, and she’s going back soon to do grad school and get her business degree because she wants to go higher up in the producing end of it. She used to work on set at “Good Morning America.” My dad and I got to see the show, and it was so cool. I have always loved broadcast journalism, but I’ve never actually been a part of it. I think this coming semester I might want to look into that a little bit more because it was so exciting seeing everything that goes into putting on a show like that. They gave us a copy of the rundown, and everything is timed exactly down to the second. You have to be really quick if something changes. So, hopefully something in broadcast journalism. We’ll see.
Q. What would you say to people who think young people no longer care about the news?
A. I think that the Ernie Pyle scholars are living proof that my generation still cares very much about the news. But I would also say, when I talk to people and tell them that I’m majoring in journalism, they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s a dying profession.” I hate when people say that because the media has such an impact on their lives. I mean, when they wake up in the morning and they turn on The Weather Channel, that’s journalism.
My generation, the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is usually look at our phones and see what’s going on. You see kids who are passionate about certain political stances, they will repost things that news outlets post on their social media.
I think that kids are very passionate about the news nowadays. It’s just on a different platform, and it just looks a little different.