On The Right Track

  • Shira Lazar (third from right) with Music Journalism track students at GRAMMY Camp
    Photo: Steve Baltin

(The sixth annual GRAMMY Camp, produced by the GRAMMY Foundation from July 10–19, is a residential summer camp for high school students with a focus on providing hands-on instruction about careers in the music industry. GRAMMY.com will feature select blog entries from camp participants relating their first-hand experiences from this unique educational opportunity. To apply for GRAMMY Camp in 2011, click here.)

By Susan Ewing and Jenay Ross

As part of GRAMMY Camp, students in each career track have an opportunity to meet with professionals working in the respective field. On July 13 the Music Journalism track students received visits from rock photographer Kristin Burns and new media maven Shira Lazar.

Burns explained how her interest in photography began in middle school and high school, which was followed by her attending and graduating from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. "Art school kicks your butt," she said laughing, "but it really prepares you." At ACCD, she initially focused on art history but then realized photography was her calling. "I'm obsessed with photography," she said. When asked about why she focuses on music photography, she described music as something that fuels, energizes and calms her. "I love the way it makes me feel," she expressed.

After graduation, Burns said she became preoccupied with burdensome loans and bills, which made her work harder, or in her words, "hustle" more. "It's hard to make a living as an artist," she added. Her career tips included being diverse, professional, open-minded, and unique. Networking and "any tiny, tiny connection can help" expand a person's opportunities for work.

Lazar, who writes her own blog, On The Scene, for CBS.com and has contributed to CNN and Fox News Channel, among other news outlets, provided an overview of blogging and broadcasting. She identified internships as a great way to start one's career, and recalled her internship with MTV and how she always made herself helpful and available. Lazar highlighted some of her career experiences including co-hosting the 72-hour GRAMMY Live! stream on GRAMMY.com during GRAMMY Week this past January, and being the first one to get an interview with YouTube's latest overnight viral comedy star, Paul Vasquez.

Lazar also explained to the students that there will likely be a low point in one's career, but advised not to give up because it will always lead to something higher. She also cited versatility as a key factor to success in the journalism field as companies are looking for someone who can write, interview and use multimedia in order to get the story out quicker and garner more exposure.

The words of encouragement were a big eye-opener and left students what else they could explore as journalists.

(Susan Ewing is a 17-year-old high school senior living in Southfield, Mich. A Music Journalism track participant, she loves music, interacting with people and writing.)

(Bay Area-resident Jenay Ross is a third-year GRAMMY Camp participant in the Music Journalism track and will be attending the University of Southern California this fall as a print journalism major.)

Email Newsletter