Widmeyer, who lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia, made the donation to send students
in the Eastern Panhandle to one of the three-day summer camps offered by the College
of Media. Isabella Cameron of Martinsburg and Morgan Sherwood of Hedgesville attended
traditional Media Camp, where they captured video and photos of incoming students
WVU New Student Orientation to create promotional pieces that reflect the excitement
and anticipation of starting college.
Cyrus Murray and Nathaniel Wright, both of Martinsburg, attended Sports and Adventure Media Camp, which included a trip to the WVU Challenge Course where they used GoPro cameras to record first-hand accounts of ziplining through the hills of West Virginia.
Both camps, which occur annually in June, give high school students from across the country the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of journalism, while exploring new and innovative ways to tell stories. Media camp workshops focus on writing, photography, video, social media strategy, and augmented and virtual reality. Participants get a taste of what the College of Media has to offer, but they also leave with portfolio pieces and their very own websites.
“It’s remarkable how quickly these ‘digital natives’ grasp the technical aspects and they leave camp with some pretty impressive pieces,” said Whitney Godwin , the College of Media recruiting specialist who implemented Media Camp four years ago. “They’re getting the real deal by working with our instructors and spending two nights in WVU dorms. In the end, we hope the experience will lead them to join our Mountaineer Media family by attending WVU.”
Widmeyer, who is passionate about supporting his home state and West Virginia University, wants to encourage more students in the Eastern Panhandle to not only attend college, but to pursue journalism and media professions. The career opportunities for up-and-comers in these fields are prevalent with Washington, D.C., located a mere 80 miles from his hometown.
“These camps provide students with an opportunity to learn and experience different aspects of journalism and get acclimated to college life,” Widmeyer said. “Scholarships are important, and I saw the Media Camp as a good opportunity to grow interests with young students. The camp gives students a taste of what they could do in the industry.”
Through the application process, all four scholarship students shared an interest in journalism and a desire to pursue it as a career. And Sherwood is already on her way. A rising senior at Hedgesville High School, she is the editor of her high school’s news station, Eagle News Network, and also works as a sports writer at the Martinsburg Journal.
“I am so thankful to have learned apps in the Adobe Creative Suite. I will be able to show my journalism program more interesting ways to edit video and film b-roll,” Sherwood said. “I would describe WVU Media Camp 2019 as life-changing.”
Douglas, his late wife Ruth Ann and his son Scott Widmeyer, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1974, established the Widmeyer Professorship in Public Relations at the College of Media. They also established a scholarship program that targets students from across the country, but also from the Eastern Panhandle specifically. Most recently, Widmeyer helped fund a cross-university reporting project between the College of Media and the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs.