Spring journalism convention inspires students to Press On!

Spring journalism convention inspires students to “Press On!”

This past weekend 35 students from Manual’s Journalism and Communications (J&C) magnet traveled to San Francisco, CA to attend the 2018 Spring Journalism Education Association (JEA) and National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) National High School Journalism Conference.

Students and chaperones pose in windy San Francisco weather for a quick group photo in front of the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to Muir Woods National Monument for the afternoon. Photo courtesy of Liz Palmer.

The conference

At the conference, students attended workshops taught by journalism professors and educators, active journalists and other valuable members of the journalism community with high school students from around the country.

“The best part of the convention was the fact that I was spending time with so many people who shared an interest and a passion with me,” Maggie Mitchell (11, J&C) said. “I knew that even though the people in my workshops were from different states and we might not have anything else in common, we at least shared a love for journalism and media.”

Workshop topics ranged from leadership, photography and design to web page layout, new technology, student press rights and beyond.

“My favorite session was on 360° cameras and new emerging media that’s being used in the world of journalism,” Jess Mays (10, J&C) said. “It was super interesting and made me think about new coverage possibilities.”

Because the workshops vary so much in content, the student journalists were able to relate it back to their own special interests.

“[During my sessions,] I got to interact with fellow high school journalists and bounce ideas off of them while also having fun,” Mattie Townson (11, J&C) said. “During sessions, [my friends] and I would talk and connect all that we learned back to our staff and try to make it applicable to us.”

As part of the conference, journalism students had the chance to go on a media tour of their choosing. Accompanied by students across the country, Manual students ventured out to ABC Studios, IDEO, Stanford, the San Francisco Chronicle, FIDM and more.

“I not only got to meet very interesting people from across the country, I got to see what a real newsroom looked like,” Olivia Brotzge (11, J&C) said after attending a tour of ABC Studios.

Brotzge excitedly admitted that “my expectations were challenged when I saw that the newsroom wasn’t filled with people.”

On the last day of the conference, qualifying teams competed in Journalism Quiz Bowl.

Manual’s team started as sixth seed and made it all the way to the final four before being defeated by Torrey Pines High School.

“It was really fun sitting with the other Manual kids and cheering way louder than the other schools for our team,” Sylvia Goodman (12, J&C) said.

At the end of the conference, students reflected on the new knowledge they’d gained.

“I am really looking forward to bringing my ideas back to On the Record,” Townson said. “I hope I will get to teach others about what we learned and open up new ways to address the way we do journalism.”  

For students hoping to continue pursuing journalism in the future, this year’s convention helped them solidify their plans for the future.

“I came away with a renewed interest in journalism as a future career,” Goodman said. “I go through periods of doubt but just being in that culture of learning and journalism for four days straight helped me see a future in the field.”

The awards

Prior to attending the conference, students signed up to compete in write-offs.

Some of the competitions required students to submit their work before the convention began while others required that the submission content be created at and during the conference in order to be judged.

Ten Manual students earned individual awards for their write-offs and Manual publications One Blue Wall and Manual RedEye were named Pacemaker Finalists. Manual’s newsmagazine, On the Record, placed fourth in Newsmagazine Best of Show.

“Everyone on staff is so talented and everyone works so hard to make what always ends up as a very beautiful magazine,” Mitchell, designer for One Blue Wall said.

Members of the One Blue Wall staff agreed that they were glad that they got the recognition because “in previous years we’ve never really gotten recognized for our work because we take such a different approach to literary magazine,” Mitchell said.

“The more recognition we get, the more traffic we get,” Brotzge, another designer for One Blue Wall said. “More people will start to consume our book and the creative works of writing and art within it.”

Individual awards went to the following students:

“It makes me feel so great seeing that the skills I’ve learned in J&C have put me so fat ahead in my design skills,” Mays said. “Seeing everyone else’s designs really showed me how advanced our teaching is and how much we learn versus other schools.”

San Francisco

Along with the conference, the group was able to sightsee in San Francisco.

On the first day, students visited the famous Golden Gate Bridge, hiked in Muir Woods National Monument and shopped on Fisherman’s Wharf. Later in the weekend they walked on Ocean Beach, through Golden Gate Park and on Haight and Ashbury Streets, they visited Chinatown, Pier 39 and Downtown San Francisco.

After boarding the ferry, the journalism students take a break from snapping photos of each other to get one big group photograph. Photo by Liz Palmer.

“San Francisco is a beautiful place and I am so glad I got to be around friends so we could experience the city together,” Goodman said.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Piper Hansen who is both a J&C student and was in attendance of the conference.

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