Today was the first day of workshops at the convention. I can honestly and proudly say that I’m sure the time I spent today in various sessions taught me more than I would learn in a regular school environment over the course of weeks.
The first session I attended was two hours long– it was an issue seminar on race relations featuring three college professors from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. and one reporter from the Orlando Sentinel.
Julian Chambliss, a history professor, spoke a lot of the history of degrading black people and black culture. Beginning with slavery, working through deindustrialization and ending up with where we stand today, Chambliss managed to portray the idea that the past needs to be accounted for when addressing the present.
Another thing that was spoken of multiple times was the disparity in the views of race relations between varying races. Matt Nichtor, a professor of sociology, acknowledged that many people don’t understand where individuals of other races stand. “Whites think things have improved for blacks a lot more than blacks think things have improved for blacks,” Nichtor said.
Lisa Kullman, a professor in critical media and cultural studies, agreed with Nichtor and added, “anyone who thinks we live in a color blind society is completely diluted.” She also ran through various statistics to present the pressing issue facing our nation (for example, Kullman pointed out that more black individuals are imprisoned currently in the United States than were in South Africa during the height of apartheid).
Darryl Owens from the Orlando Sentinel was the only reporter we heard from during this session, and he gave one of the best lectures I’ve ever heard. Owens repeatedly tore apart the common usage of stereotypes to “replace experience” in the media.
His lecture was also a lot more personal than most others I’ve heard. “Do you play basketball?” Owens said others would ask him. “As if there was nothing else that might captivate a tall black guy.”
Even through the variation of tone and point, all of the speakers focused on how the media portrays issues related to race, whether positively or negatively.
The session gave me a lot of ideas of things to write about in the future, from how racism has divided our communities to how stereotypes and racial humor aren’t actually funny subjects.
Later on in the day, I heard from Eric Deggans of NPR. Deggans also spoke of the media’s responsibilities and shortcomings in filling the inequality gaps as they relate to race. Hearing about the same topic again fired me up even more to write about some of the ideas I have relating to the way we view race and racism both in and outside of our community.
“People of color judge racial progress differently than white people tend to,” Deggans said, as many others before him did as well.
After a long day of learning and inspiration, the Mountain Vista Media crew headed out for dinner at the Rain Forest Café right next to Animal Kingdom.
We brought the day to an end with our team meeting, but not before hitting up the NHSJC dance, which was honestly better than any school dance I’ve ever been to.
Today during the first sessions of the convention I not only learned many new things about journalism, but I was also able to build upon the things I had learned last convention.
My most valuable session was called Sit up Straight; Elbows off the Table and it talked about the important things to know if you hope to be a news anchor one day. Not only did I learn you must pronounce worlds the same as in the region you are reporting in, but I also learned the importance of annunciation and giving more emphasis on words to get a point across.
Once the sessions were over, it was time for the always stressful write-off. I was lucky enough to have my write-off be about a professional wakeboarder. Not only did I learn the importance of time management while writing a story I also learned the importance of note taking and following the story.
The Rain Forrest Café was next on the list of things to do today and all the Mountain Vista Media students made a pact to dress nice and take cute photos. It was a great bonding experience for the group as we all were able to get together and bond over good food and cute photos.
Finally we capped off the night with a dance that the convention put on for the students. The DJ was on point and arguably better than many of the DJs I have seen at other dances. With a few hundred people there, and a great dance floor it was a great way to end a fun filled night.
Being in Orlando is an awesome experience that I will take with me through my entire journalism career. At this convention I was able to choose from a ton of classes where I could learn various things about designs, headlines, photography, short stories and just be an overall better journalist.
Attending this convention has allowed me to listen to two really awesome keynote speakers, become a better journalist and hang out with other kids my age with the same interest in journalism, plus I get to go to Disney World! It’s a pretty cool feeling knowing that I am surrounded by hundreds of other students that have the same passion as I do.
This has been an awesome experience that I wish to be able to continue attending and I can’t wait to bring back the skills that I have learned to my fellow staff back at home that weren’t able to attend.
In my sessions today I learned so many new things about design, social media, and writing. My two sessions about social media were very intriguing and informative. The social media sessions taught me about the best times to post on each platform and about how to effectively use each platform of social media.
I have also learned a lot from keynote speakers. Both of them were very interesting and gave me an insight into what life as a journalist would be like. I also had the opportunity to meet with a broadcast reporter today. She taught me a lot about broadcasting and what it is like to be on the news.
I have met so many new people and experienced so many new things, such as DisneyWorld! Overall, this trip has been an amazing and eye-opening experience. I have learned so much about journalism and about myself. I am excited to use what I have learned in things I will work on in the future.
Day three was filled with lots of learning. My sessions were mainly about yearbook. I got a lot of inspiration from my design sessions. I’m excited to take the things I saw and adapt them for our yearbook. Friday was also the inevitable write off. I’ve known I’d be writing a feature for the write off but I was still freaking out a little before the write off. I did a feature story on a freelance creative writer who wrote stories for many places such as the Florida Aquarium. I’m not really sure how I feel about it, we’ll just have to wait and see. After all that, we hit up my favorite childhood restaurant RAINFOREST CAFE. Even though we were at Rainforest Cafe, I naturally still ordered chicken tenders and fries. And they were really good, as everything is there. I love all the animals in the forest and the special effects, like the thunderstorm. When I finished my chicken tenders, we headed back to the hotel for the highly anticipated dance. The dance was filled with a bunch of journalists so as usual, it got really hot and kinda gross. But that didn’t stop me from tearing up the dance floor. All in all, I learned a lot of journalism, ate some good food, and Hit the Quan.