Conference offers high school students journalism practice

Ben Breier

Roughly 1,200 high school students converged at Kent State yesterday to attend the Northeast Ohio Scholastic Press Association press day.

Theresa Edwards, sophomore newspaper journalism major and Society of Professional Journalists president, organized several things for the high school students to do. An SPJ table with Associated Press stylebooks, T-shirts and notebooks for sale was located on the second floor of the Student Center right outside of the ballroom.

Edwards said SPJ put on a skit in which a student was suing her university over a privacy violation – the university tapped her phone lines and monitored her Internet usage because she was looking up information about explosives.

After the skit, students had 15 minutes to ask the characters in the skit any questions they had prior to writing a deadline story.

“They get as close to real-life reporting as they possibly can,” Edwards said. “It’s the best chance for them to practice the skills they acquire throughout the year at (high) school.”

Edwards said she came to a NOSPA convention at Kent State as a member of “Page One,” the youth journalism section of the Warren Tribune Chronicle.

Allison Remcheck, junior magazine journalism major and public relations chair of SPJ, coordinated the skit and judged the entries submitted by the students.

Remcheck said she helped put together a judging rubric to help grade the entries.

“Last year, it was really random,” Remcheck said. “It was about who liked an article more.”

Remcheck said NOSPA is important because it gives students a way to work on new challenges.

The Ohio High School Journalist of the Year Award was announced at the ballroom presentation. This year’s winner was Hannah Miller of the Warren Tribune Chronicle.

Miller won a $500 scholarship, and her portfolio was sent to San Francisco to be judged for the national High School Journalist of the Year competition.

Sixteen-year-old Kevin Van Bell and 17-year-old Jason Horne won awards for their work with their high school paper, General McLane’s Lancer Ledger. The Lancer Ledger won first place in the middle-sized newspaper category.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].