True Star Goes To Iowa, Pt. 2

Amariyah Mallory, (center) is joined by fellow True Star members Gary Langfield Jr. and Jada Strong. The three Chicagoians took their first trip to Iowa City, Iowa, to participate in the Iowa Journalism Workshop.

My recent trip to Iowa City, Iowa was the first of many firsts. My first time riding the bus by myself, my first time attending the Iowa Journalism Workshop, my first time going to a courthouse, and my first time going to Iowa!  Arriving in Iowa was an immediate change in culture for me. Being from a big city like Chicago was the opposite of the college town I was staying in.

The Iowa Journalism Workshop (ISJW) I attended has been around for over 20 years. ISJW is open to rising freshman – seniors in fall 2023, as well as seniors graduating in spring 2023. There is a plethora of types of writing offered at the workshop. Options included investigative reporting, photo journalism, advanced graphic design, personal writing and personal writing: section 2.

I chose the investigative writing section under the teachings of Erin Jordan, journalist and reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. A day for us would look like having breakfast with the rest of the workshop members, going to a workshop session where we would conduct an interview or go on a field trip, then going to lunch. After lunch we would come back together with our respective groups to brainstorm ideas before composing an article before going to dinner.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette

One day me and my fellow camp members had the opportunity to attend the sentencing of a major case in Iowa. This was my first time being in a courthouse, and I have to admit it was pretty cool. Upon entering you had to show identification and devices of any kind including smart watches were not allowed in the courtroom to prevent the recording of the trial. Next we headed up to the courtroom, and it wasn’t what I anticipated. Most of my knowledge of courtrooms came from my love of justice shows like “Criminal Minds,” so I expected there to be some differences. The courtroom was much smaller and the lawyers and judges were nicer than on television. During the trial we were able to listen and take notes, but we were instructed to be quiet during the entirety of the trial. Going to the courthouse was one of my favorite memories from the trip.

University of Iowa campus

This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Thank you to Iowa and their journalism and mass communication program for facilitating this workshop that helps youth pursue their interest in journalism. Special thanks to True Star for providing this opportunity.

Iowa left me with so many wonderful memories. I can’t wait for next year.  To learn more about the Iowa Journalism Workshop you can click here.


By Amariyah Mallory, Sophomore, Whitney Young

Instagram: Dancemari_


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Written by Amariyah Mallory

Amariyah Mallory is a life long learner who's passionate about dance, committed to social justice and service, invested in African America culture and current events, and devoted to writing. 

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