Aspiring young journalists from across the state of Oregon met in Eugene on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for the 2013 Fall Press Day.
The Northwest Scholastic Press Association (NWSPA) and the University of Oregon School of Journalism & Communication (UO SOJC) hosted the events, which included skill-based workshops and notable guest speakers. The conference was held on October 15 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the EMU student union on campus at the University of Oregon.
According to Guru Amar Khalsa, an intern for NWSPA, attendance at the 2013 Fall Press Day was expected to include nearly 500 middle school and high school students from across the state.
“It’s great to expand their view of journalism to more than just newspaper and yearbook,” said Amar Khalsa, who was a volunteer at last year’s convention. “There are so many opportunities to spark their love for journalism.”
This year’s event included lectures and workshops led by some of the most respected minds in the Pacific Northwest journalism community, including keynote speaker and 2012 Dow Jones News Fund High School Journalism Teacher of the Year Ellen Austin.
Austin is the Director of Journalism at The Harker School in San Jose, Calif. and spent four weeks of her summer working in London as a National Endowment for the Humanities grant recipient.
Other guest speakers for the 2013 Fall Press Day included UO SOJC professors such as Ed Madison, Dan Morrison, Deb Morrison, Peter Laufer and Kyu Ho Youm.
Unfortunately, however, UO SOJC associate professor John Russial believes that recent budget cuts have caused lowered attendance than previous Fall Press Days. The lack of more flexible spending, Russial said, has likely forced hundreds of students to miss the events because schools can’t afford to secure transportations for students from across the state.
Registration for the event reached nearly 600 students, but Russial remembers when the event had more than 800-900 people in attendance. Fortunately, he still believes the event is a positive experience for many of the young students that had attended this year.
“It’s great for high school kids to spend a day working with journalism and see if it’s something that they want to pursue,” said Russial.
The event included a faculty of approximately 40 advisers that led roughly 30 breakout sessions.
Some of the more popular breakout sessions at the conference included multimedia workshops. According to members of the NWSPA, multimedia storytelling is a creative field of journalism often overlooked by young students interested in the industry.
Another session that was offered at the conference included a workshop on cross-cultural and cross language journalistic interviews.
Led by UO SOJC professor Peter Laufer, who has either studied or taught at institutions around the world, the session taught students how to properly pursue interviews when the subject does not share a common culture.
“This not only gave students a taste of what it’s like to learn about journalism, but also served as good recruiting for the university,” said Russial.