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City of Boston creates high school digital storytelling internship

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Digital Team

We’re always looking for support to tell the stories of Boston. This summer, we got help from three local high schoolers.

Over the course of a five-week program, the City’s Digital Team provided multimedia skill development for three Boston Public School students through its first-ever High School Digital Storytelling Internship. The program ran from the end of July through the beginning of September. We connected the students to a variety of City departments, offering a unique glimpse into how their City works. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 program to be a virtual one, with most workshops being held through Google Hangouts, but it was a success nonetheless. 



Diving into the work

We tasked our interns with two main projects during the summer months. In the first project, we had them brainstorm ideas that would target and engage their demographic in COVID-19 social distancing campaigns on social media. The second and larger project saw them create a 3-minute-long final video that dealt with a topic of their choice. The team decided on: “How are youth around Boston helping during COVID-19?”

Once the group decided on a video topic, they met with half a dozen departments across the City and connected with those whom they thought would be good to feature in their video. During the third and fourth weeks of the program, the group traveled to seven different locations to film nearly 10 interviews and collect a plethora of b-roll footage. 


Workshops for skill growth

Throughout the program, our interns took part in multiple workshops. These included:

  • design
  • best video practices
  • career skills
  • drone, and
  • storytelling workshops.

In total, there were 10 different half-hour and hour-long workshops. The last two workshops — a “resume building” workshop and a “best workplace practices” workshop — gave them key tips for their future career endeavors.



Wrapping things up

The fifth week was reserved for editing time. Our two digital storytellers worked with our interns, live-editing the video through Google Hangouts with the team. Together, they developed the narrative, decided on the best quotes, picked their favorite shots, and layered the story together. 

At the end of their last week, the intern team premiered their final video to a larger team across the City. The video will also be posted across all of the City’s social media platforms.

In thinking up this program, we were hoping to give local high school students real-world experience in a specific and creative field. To that end, we found the initial version of our program a huge success. Our students were able to get a taste of what the professional working world is like.

We hope to have the program in place next year. We want to continue to work with local students to help them feel more prepared and confident to face future challenges in both school and in their careers. Stay tuned! We’ll add information to our website about future internships and fellowships for the summer this winter.

Be Connected

Our interns sat down for an interview with Human Resources for its Be Connected: Behind-the-scenes series:

Check out the interview