The Great 48

The amazing young journalists of Midtown Magazine

We're focusing on only one of the 48 student journalists whose work makes Midtown Through Our Eyes such a revelation. But trust me: They're all pretty amazing. As John Hopkins Middle School Principal Maureen Thornton said last week during a party celebrating the students' success, "They are serious."

Serious about journalism. Serious about creating an accurate portrait of Midtown. And seriously good at writing stories and taking pictures. The quality of their photography and the scope and detail of the articles in Midtown Magazine are a credit to their instructors, led by Cynda Mort, a veteran writer/editor who coordinates the journalism programs at Melrose Elementary School and John Hopkins. Mort also credits the generosity of the community. [email protected] has hosted the program's exhibit for three years; Eckerd College donated $10,000 worth of materials for the camp and four student volunteers; and the St. Petersburg Times printed Midtown. All in all, more than 25 volunteers took part, logging a total of 744 volunteer hours, and guest speakers donated 21 hours of lecture time.

Finally, though, the credit goes to the journalistic moxie of the kids themselves. I'll list just a few stellar examples: 11-year-old Hayley Brahm, who was shutterbugging like a pro during last week's party; fifth-grader Kelly Frehling, who wouldn't stop till she found the story she was looking for when she was assigned to write about a local business; photographers Kramon Long and Domonic Eaves (fourth and seventh grades, respectively), who found beauty in a pile of zippers at a Central Avenue seamstress shop and in the salmon-colored exterior of a carwash; and the reporting team of Ashley Alonso and Darian Morgan, whose story for Midtown Magazine has this irresistible lead: "At Bill Puckett's Store Fixtures, there are 100 people — and 96 of them are made of Fiberglas."

Then there's our cover guy, photographer Marion Wolfe, whose story Katherine Clement tells here. Kat, a Creative Loafing intern, is a student herself — a senior majoring in journalism at USF St. Pete, where she reports for the Neighborhood News Bureau. So we have one talented student journalist writing about another; we like the symmetry.

Please note that if you like any of the photos you see here or would like to see more, they're for sale; the students take 15 percent of the proceeds, with the other 85 percent going back to the journalism camp. (For details, read "Want to See More?" p. 20.) There's also a calendar available for $10, and you can pick up Midtown Magazine — for free — at retail spots throughout Midtown and downtown St. Pete.

—With reporting from Katherine Clement

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