Over the last week of October, myself and five other students from the St. Norbert Times travelled to Louisville, Kentucky to attend the National College Media Convention. And oh my, I have never seen so many young and aspiring journalists in one place.
The convention was run by the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Association, and invited students from all different colleges to come together to showcase and learn more about the ever adapting field of journalism. In addition to this, professors, scholars, and experts from all different journalistic fields came to lead discussions and sessions for students. These sessions ranged from print media to video and photo media, covered the effects of the #Metoo movement and Donald Trump, and even educated student advisors on how to best manage student-led college newspapers.
I personally was able to attend over 10 sessions and they were all very informative and beneficial. One that stood out to me was called “Internship Intel,” which talked about how to obtain your dream internship in journalism. The presenter was Paul Glader, who is an award winning and former staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and also a professor at The King’s College, who gave us advice on how to apply for internships and when they’re given out. He differentiated between a creative cover letter and a soft cover letter, a journalistic resume (experience comes first) and a regular one, and even talked about his own personal experiences with finding and writing stories. Another presentation I particularly enjoyed, especially because it was about sports journalism, was “The Sports Beat in the Twitter era.” This session described the role that Twitter has on sports reporting, in which the speaker related Twitter to a “virtual sports bar” for fans. You then, as a reporter, are the bartender. Fans come to Twitter before the game, during the game, and after the game, and they look to you to report new insights that they do not know. This was an idea that I had never thought about and can now include in my own reporting repertoire because of this convention.
On top of all this, multiple internship programs and graduate schools showcased their information and opportunities in a grand exhibition hall. Students were able to make connections with future programs in places like Washington D.C. and New York, while they were learning more about their desired careers. In the same hall, the convention held prestigious awards for individual pieces and college newspapers. Students could also get their own college newspaper and resumes critiqued on the spot by top scholars and experts.
In my perspective, the convention was immensely successful and fruitful. The amount of knowledge I gained over three simple days was more than I had over my first couple of years in the field. This specific experience, and especially the advice I was given, will stay with me as I continue to pursue a career in journalism.
At the same time, this event was impactful for me because it renewed the passion that I have for writing and reporting. The speakers gave me new motivations to find stories that people need to hear. They gave me the tips and tools to do this, and to do it responsibly and ethically. These sessions also made me realize the impact that journalists have on the world. Even though I want to focus on sports, the potential stories that I will write still have importance. By simply being around these passionate people, who recognize the impact of this kind of work, I found a sense of belonging in journalism. This is a field where I will grow, where I will struggle and find success, where I will see new places and old faces, where I will change lives, and hopefully, where I will stay for a long time.
The National Media Convention brought so many faces of journalism’s future to one place. With the experience that I had, I believe that the state of journalism is in good hands; the hands of willing, intelligent, and responsible people who are eager to share the stories of the world.