A Major Opportunity for Advanced Journalism


Ben Sebolt, Senior Sports Editor

   The 2018 National High School Journalism Convention is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for many high school journalists, and for the first time, LFA’s Advanced Journalism class attended. Held in Chicago this year, the convention saw prestigious journalism programs fly their students in from all over the country. Renowned speakers and the heads of many respected journalism programs, at both the collegiate and high school level, imparted their knowledge to the new generation of journalists.  

  The convention took place at the Hyatt Regency, with seemingly endless ballrooms and conference rooms. Occurring on both Friday and Saturday, the convention had numerous sessions every hour from 9am to 3pm. Most rooms were filled to maximum capacity with eager students and teachers, making even hard to find a seat in many of the lectures.  

   A personal favorite session of several LFA students was headed by ESPN writer, Wayne Drehs. A winner of multiple Emmy Awards and featured on ESPN’s front page multiple times, Dreh’s message was about the preparation for a story. One interesting idea he had was having an unrecorded meeting with one’s subject beforehand–an interesting idea for a better interview.

  Other LFA students visited classes such as Protecting Student Press Freedom, How to Write Stories with Impact, and Telling Big Stories That Matter, all relevant topics in the journalism world today. Each of these lessons was taught by someone very involved in the field.

 As for Advanced Journalism students, this once in a lifetime trip was an enlightening experience. The conference not only helped to better everyone’s writing for the paper, but it also showed what a career in journalism might look like, as many of the speakers were professional journalists in the field.

  A significant highlight of the conference was a presentation by faculty from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of Parkland shooting in February of 2018.  Despite a ballroom that was equipped to fit around 400, exceptionally engaged students crowed to get in, and the event coordinators were momentarily overwhelmed by the interest in just this one single presentation.  Ms. Byron and Mrs. MacAyeal made it in the door by means of Ms. Byron trying to assist with the safety of the situation, and then pulling Mrs. MacAyeal in through the crowd once her foot was in the door. The lecture that the advisors of Parkland’s newspaper and yearbook delivered was haunting and inspiring, and will be shared with all LFA journalism students during this year.

  This opportunity was a impactful occasion and if given the opportunity the Spectator staff would benefit greatly from attending.