Journalism National Convention(JEA)

April 6-9 2017

The beginning of this month I had the incredible opportunity to go with my school newspaper to the Journalism National convention(JEA). 3,900 students from across the United States, including a few from Canada and China, all came together to learn about journalism in Seattle, WA.

This was more than learning though, there were colleges from out of state who were promoting their journalism programs. These colleges seemed to be competing with each other to find the best students.

My school newspaper and I went down to Seattle at around 9 a.m. and arrived at about 10 a.m. The only other schools who were there around then were schools from around the Seattle area. We ended up helping pack these little gift bags for the newspaper advisors and yearbook advisors.

7 p.m. on Thursday night was the keynote, the speaker was Tim Harrower who designs newspapers. His opening keynote speech was not about designing though. He decided to tell everyone journalism bedtime stories. These were not your typical bedtime stories, as these made fun of fake news and President Donald Trump.

Friday was a day full of sessions, sessions range from broadcast all the way to newspaper and yearbook. You can think of a session and you’ll most likely find it at some point. I decided to spend my Friday morning going to sessions about feature writing.

4 p.m. on Friday we had our write-offs, a.k.a. competitions. I participated in Feature writing, which I absolutely love. Here’s how the write-off works:

I was in a room with around 100 people who were also participating and I was a little nervous. As I was texting the group chat with others from the school newspaper who were at the convention; I mentioned how my room has over 100 people. My friend stated her room has around 20, the number of people depends on how popular the competition is.

The first 30 minutes there is a speaker who comes in to talk about her subject. This time a manager from Books to Prisoners who there to talk about this. Then everyone in the room gets 15 minutes to ask questions, but this means that she chooses the people. Finally after this we get to write our article, we get 70 minutes to produce it.

Afterward was free time and I went with a few others to a journalism party. This convention also includes yearbook people, and wow, they sure know how to party. One girl had the band singer sign her boob, some kids from California were just acting hilarious.

Saturday was full of more sessions but this day I went to tons about interviewing beyond the basics. I am probably one of the worst people with interviewing if I have to be honest.

Saturday afternoon was the National Scholastic Press Association(NSPA) awards. This organization is based more around yearbook but our school won the First Amendment Freedom of the Press Award.

Sunday is the awards ceremony for the write-offs, they decided to go through the write-offs backwards. There were around 40 but feature writing was #3, which means I had to wait. I was shaking badly and nervously while I was waiting. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to win anything but I ended up winning an honorable mention.

This was an amazing experience and I loved it so much!

If you have any questions, please comment below.

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