Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Owens Outlook editors attend national student media conference in Philly

Me, center, and my hard-working Owens Outlook students ready for our journey, RV style. (Photo by Sean Ferry)
 Five Owens Outlook editors brought their cameras to the College Media Assoc. conference in Philly. (Photos by Lori King)
Amanda and TJ capture the underbelly of the Liberty Bell during a site-seeing walk around the city.
Packing up. (Photo by Sean Ferry)
    The photos tell the story, as they should. Though it’s impossible to sum up their overall experiences and amount of learning in a few blurry photos (Canon G-11 not the best for low light situations!).
   Our destination was the National College Media Association convention in Philadelphia from Oct. 29 - Nov. 2.
New York Daily News photojournalist Todd Maisel shows his 9/11 photos.
   On the morning of Oct. 29 we met in our regularly scheduled Intro to Photojournalism classroom. Five of the 10 students were going to the conference, so they came to class towing luggage.  After an hour of class, guest instructor Dave Cantor took over for those remaining.   
   With much anticipation we finally piled into my 2012 Forest River Sunseeker RV for what ended up being a 12-hour haul to the City of Brotherly Love.
   I consider myself to be one very, very lucky student media adviser because all five students who went to the conference are editors on the Owens Outlook, the online student newspaper.
  Attending were editor-in-chief Katie Buzdor; assistant editor/webmaster TJ Barney; news editor Janelle Smith; features editor Lacie Hayek, and sports editor Amanda Aylwin.
   The conference, held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, was a bit overwhelming for all of us. The pace was fast and the lessons were many. There were about 2,000 college media students and their advisers who attended more than 325 workshops. For three days there were workshops every hour, beginning from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., with no scheduled lunch breaks. That equals out to be about 20 workshops we all attended!
   Workshops included everything from How to Write Feature Leads and Nut Graphs, to Maximizing your Website’s Potential.  There were multiple workshops for everyone, no matter their niche (sports, layout & design, management, etc.).
   This is the same conference I went to last year in New Orleans. It was at that conference that I learned about the News Academy, which I adapted for the Outlook. I realized the students needed journalism training before they could do actual journalism, so I ended up shutting down the online paper last year for News Academy training. We also discovered Student Newspapers Online (SNO), a WordPress platform, and our current website host.
   So, with a newly trained staff and a new website platform, we re-launched April 1. And I must say the results are stunning! There is no doubt in my mind that the New Orleans conference is what made this year at the Outlook possible.
   I’m really hoping the current funding issues at Owens doesn’t prevent a new class of students from going to the conference next year. The wisdom and confidence they gain is invaluable and worth the expense.
   The students will blog about their #collegemedia14 experiences soon. I will add links to their blogs when they are posted. They can express what they learned better than I can. 
Student photojournalist Christian K. Lee shares his experience of covering the Ferguson riots to a packed house.

No comments: