JEA National Convention Provides Insights

by Asumi Shuda Convention Provides Insights
• Future journalist attend national convention to learn from peers and professionals.

Peninsula High’s newspaper staff on The Pen recently traveled to Chicago to participate in the annual National High School Journalism Convention.
On the trip, Nov. 2 to Nov. 5, staff members used their time in the Windy City to take classes and explore the city. The staff made the trip with the intention of networking with other student journalists from across the nation and learn from professional journalists with many years of experience.
“The JEA/NSPA conventions are opportunities for students to meet and learn from professional journalists in the newspaper, magazine and Internet media industries,” said The Pen’s advisor Jaymee Johnson. “It is also an opportunity for them to showcase their work and compete on behalf of their publication.”
This year’s convention had a wide array of classes students could choose from. From news gathering sessions to design classes, there were endless opportunities for these journalists to learn how to make the most of their position, from advisors to writers.
chicago.300“Since I am an Opinion editor for the paper, I went to several classes that were on censorship, covering controversial topics and writing with a strong bias,” said senior Liana Korotzer.
These hour-long sessions involved lectures, interactive discussions and visual displays that exemplified what the speakers wanted to convey. Each class was catered toward a specific audience, from those seeking how to gather news to those who wanted to hear the experiences of professionals in the field. Amidst these countless sessions, there were some notable presentations that still resonate in some hearts.
“One session that I really loved was the Parkland presentation. It was so meaningful to see how the Stoneman Douglas High School (Fla.) yearbook staff was able to create something so beautiful out of a tragedy,” said Korotzer.
One session that had a particularly large showing was one done by Stoneman High yearbook advisor Sarah Lerner. The presentation was based on the mass school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida, where 17 lives were lost in the process.
During her approximately 45-minute speech, Lerner talked about her own experience of being in the midst of the shooting and how her yearbook staff publicized and handled the incident afterward.
Lerner showed the audience the yearbook spreads she and her staff dedicated so much time and effort into creating and how they encompassed the shooting.
“This year’s convention was interesting because I was able to attend classes that I was not able to go to before,” said senior and editor-in-chief Emily McGinn. “For example, my co-editor-in-chief and I went to a class about copyright issues, which is a problem that we are currently struggling with.”
Those who went were able to gather information that they would not have gotten anywhere else. Despite the odds of making up work from missing school and the weather of the Windy City, The Pen staff came back as journalists with more knowledge of what they are passionate about.
“I think that the journalism convention reminds the people who go that [they are a part of] one small newspaper in a country full of journalists,” Korotzer said. “It shows people that the way they do things does not have to be the way everyone else does it, and they can open their eyes to something new.”

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