Students travel to midwest for national convention

Publications and journalism students pose in front of fountains at Crown Center after ice skating in Kansas City on Nov. 13. Photo by SARAH NICHOLS

Landing in the Kansas City International airport on Nov. 10, journalism and publications students picked up their baggage and jumped in a shuttle to the Crowne Plaza hotel, their home for the next five days.

This flight took the students to the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, where they took classes to improve their writing, design, broadcasting, photography, leadership and reporting skills.

After completing their pre-convention classes on Thursday, the kids were joined by broadcasting students and the convention commenced that night during the opening ceremonies in the main ballroom with the other 4,500 participants from 38 states, Washington D.C and London.

“I took classes about good story techniques, interviewing, how to make our programs at school better, shooting photos and video and one on making stories funny,” Taylor Descheemaeker said.

Learning new techniques and gaining new experiences were not simply for right now, but also will help in the future.

“I really enjoyed learning about storytelling instead of reporting because those are the kind of stories I want to start writing,” Emma Richie said.

There were also classes on yearbook designing, law and ethics of journalistic writing and new concepts of teaching for advisers. Classes were offered on Friday and Saturday, when the students dressed in their business casual clothing to represent the school.

“It’s was fun to dress up for a couple of days and it prevented us from looking like slobs,” Emma Getz said.

Dressing up wasn’t the only fun, though. Kansas City offers a large market like Whole Foods, called Cosentino’s, which provided exciting alternatives to what California has in terms of quick and inexpensive dining.

Aside from meal times, students found other ways to have a good time.

“Our group went ice skating, shopping, out to dinner a few nights and to (The College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center),” Jessica Holbrook said.

To end the convention, two awards ceremonies commenced; one was for the Best of Show competitions. These competitions were designed for schools to bring in their newspapers, yearbooks, broadcasting shows and publications to be judged at the convention. Sierra Lemay and Jennifer Hayes received Third Place in best sports broadcast, and Details yearbook won Second Place for Best of Show.

On-site Write-Offs also provided contests for students who enjoy writing on the spot about various topics like news, sports, review and feature. Other contests let students bring in pre-designed yearbook layouts, newspaper spreads and photos. These awards were received at the second awards ceremony the morning of the last day of the convention.

In total, eight students received some kind of recognition for what they produced in each of their contests.

The journalism convention happens twice every year, in the fall and spring, and brings students from all over the country to one place to share in the knowledge of journalism.

Students also learned a key piece of information from advisers and teachers who taught classes at the convention.

“Journalism is absolutely not dead. People depend on journalism of all kinds for news, input and simply something to make a conversation out of, as well as being able to know what’s going on around the community and the whole world,” Descheemaeker said.

Kansas City may have been an unlikely location for a national get-together of students, but the convention created memories some people will never forget.

“The trip was a great experience. I would definitely do it again in a heart beat. It taught me so much more about journalism,” Holbrook said.

By SHAI NIELSON