Left, this photo, taken by Hannah Forsberg of The King's Academy, won the 2012 GSPA Fall Conference on-the-spot photo competition. Right, the student staff of Lowndes High School's The Saga celebrate winning the first-issue competition.
High school journalism conference draws over 550
Date: October 08, 2012
Author: Lauren Pruitt
Contact: Joe Dennis, email@example.com
More than 550 high school journalists took part in the Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA) fall conference, held Oct. 3-4 at the Tate Student Center at the University of Georgia.
"This is the largest state conference for high school journalism," said Joe Dennis, public service faculty at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of GSPA. "Schools from across the state attend this conference to enhance their journalism skills."
The annual conference featured 57 different sessions targeted toward high school students participating in their school newspapers, news magazines, yearbooks, broadcasts or literary magazine programs. Session presenters included Grady College faculty, area journalism professionals and high school teachers. Topics focused on areas of journalism, such as news writing, the difference between writing for print and writing for online, publication management and broadcast production.
Caitlyn Martin, a senior at Jackson County Comprehensive High School and editor-in-chief of Pandora's Box literary magazine found the sessions informative.
Singer-songwriter Kyshona Armstrong performs the opening night concert while a student records the show on her iPad.
"'The Little Things' was my favorite session," Martin said. "It was pretty much little things you wouldn't think of to make your publication better."
Thirty-six schools from across the state were represented at the conference. The event kicked off with an opening night concert from singer-songwriter Kyshona Armstrong. After her performance, students asked questions at a press conference in preparation of writing a concert review.
On Oct. 4, 578 students attended classes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., devoting a full school day to their journalistic interest. A special adviser's track was also offered for high school journalism teachers to enhance their training.
"Many times a high school teacher is handed the journalism program with little or no journalism experience," Dennis said. "We encouraged new advisers to attend this conference at no charge and get the basic training they need."
Athens freelance writer and Grady Ph.D student Brian Creech teaches a session on news writing.
The conference also held competitions for schools to rank their first publication of the year. Lowndes High School (Valdosta) won the "Best Overall" crown for its newspaper, The Saga.
Other schools that received recognition were:
- Pace Academy (Atlanta), The Knightly News for overall design;
- Lowndes, The Saga for news coverage;
- Druid Hills High School (Atlanta), The Spotlight for feature writing,
- Lassiter High School (Marietta), The Laureate for opinion writing; and
- Dacula High School (Dacula), The Talon for sports writing.
Students also could take part in the on-site photo competition, where they submitted a photo taken that day to highlight the conference. Hannah Forsberg of The King's Academy (Atlanta) won the contest.
Grady College reaches out to high schools across the state to further journalism education and ethics. Conferences like GSPA also give students a glimpse into the university and provide insight and tours for those applying to college.
"I was really excited about the conference," Martin said. "My parents were both journalism majors (at UGA)."
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