Off the beat

Adam Griffiths

NOSPA Press Day brings more than 1,000 high school journalists to campus


The above photo is part of a winning collection by Streetsboro High School student Abby Perkins, who was awarded best student photographer at yesterday’s NOSPA Press Day.

Credit: Adam Griffiths

The Student Center was a little crowded yesterday.

Puzzled students ran from floor to floor, building to building for sessions and tours. Piles of high school publications littered tables on the second floor. Kent State volunteers wandered around in black T-shirts asking, “Got questions?”

More than 1,000 high school journalism students ascended the staircase in the Student Center for the 69th annual Northeast Ohio Scholastic Press Association (NOSPA) Press Day.

Students from 54 Ohio high schools attended more than 70 sessions in the Student Center, Taylor Hall and the Music and Speech Center covering topics including print media, television and radio, design, cartooning, law and ethics and yearbook publishing.

Centerburg High School junior Samantha O’Sullivan said NOSPA classes are informative and teach new ideas and techniques.

“I really like the constructive criticism,” O’Sullivan said. “NOSPA is a way to re-approach what you’ve already been doing.”

Angela Spano, adviser to The Eagle at GlenOak High School, said she hopes her students come away from NOSPA better reporters and with more understanding of their legal rights.

“They get to talk to journalists, people who are in the profession, lawyers and people from the SPLC,” Spano said.

In addition to information sessions, NOSPA Press Day also featured Day-Of contests in broadcast, photography, interviewing, event coverage and yearbook layout. Winners for pre-entered work were also announced at the end of the day after a keynote speech by Kent State alumnus and Washington Post sports designer Jon Wile.

Associate professor Gene Shelton spoke during the Day-Of interviewing contest about his experience in the music industry.

“I think it’s good that (students) are thinking about their career, that they understand the demands,” Shelton said. “It’s important to have the skill of writing and then connection the passion with the writing.”

Kent State student volunteers helped visitors as session aides. Junior magazine journalism major Jenna Gerling said she wanted to help younger student journalists “seek information in their field.”

“(NOPSA) brings professors and faculty together who actually have experience in the field to give the students insight,” Gerling said.

Executive Director Candace Perkins Bowen said this year’s conference featured more speakers as well as broadcast and yearbook contest categories.

“I hope students from all schools get ideas from each other and that they get fired up, that even the best schools learn something,” Bowen said.

This year’s Press Day will be the last official conference of NOSPA. Five current regional student journalism organizations across Ohio will combine to form the statewide Ohio Scholastic Media Association (OSMA) this fall, holding workshops in each region. OSMA will meet Apr. 4-5, 2008 at Kent State for the first statewide high school journalism event.

“The industry is taking a bigger interest in student journalists,” Bowen said. “They’re realizing that the good ones get started in high school.”

Contact news correspondent Adam Griffiths at [email protected].