They say journalism is a dying art form, but the 3,000 high school students who attended the JEA/NSPA Conference in Seattle, WA would dare to challenge that assumption in light of their growing passion for investigative journalism.
Student journalists met at the Seattle Convention Center to listen to keynote speaker Jennifer Sizemore, Manager of Global Editorial Staffs and executive producer of MSNBC.com, speak about the art of journalism and reporting.
Motivated by Sizemore’s compelling presentation, attendees were driven to continue to delve into their passions by sitting in on classes ranging from the “Joy of Journalism” and “Designs So Cool They’ll Make Your Eyes Bleed” to “Captions, not Craptions” and “There’s No Crying in Baseball.”
The following afternoon, attendees gathered to listen to keynote speaker Dan Savage describe his “It Gets Better” video project, which aims to decrease the number of gay teen suicides and inspire the teenage LGBTQ community to stand strong in the face of the pressures of society.
“I thought he was one of the best public speakers I have ever seen. It’s a day I will always remember because Mr. Savage has inspired so much change within the LGBTQ teen community. For many, he is a hero, and I look up to him so much,” said sophomore Grace Woolf.
Savage’s presentation served as a springboard for the topics of discussion in the JEA-sponsored write-off contests that were held later that day, in which all student representatives participated.
On top of being Pacemaker Finalists for The Fourth Estate website, many individual writers won awards for analyzing and reporting on the issue of bullying in high schools.
Senior Andrew McCaffery won a Superior Award for Copy-Editing and Headline Writing, junior Zoe Serbin won a Superior Award for Editorial Cartooning, and senior Jess Davis won an Excellent Award for Editorial Writing. Senior Eva Davis also won a Honorable Mention for her Photo Story on Ms. Mary Jane McCord.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team for accomplishing so much,” said Editor-in-Chief Jess Davis.