Landing late Wednesday night at Dallas Love Field Airport, journalism and communications students prepared to journey into a new state in hopes of bringing new knowledge and insight to their peers. Maybe a few awards as well.
Nixia Bravo, Sandra Ortega, Nikita Opel, Kevin Garcia, Alberto Serrano and I were eager to begin our long weekend in Dallas. The 2017 Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association (JEA/NSPA) fall convention started without a hitch on Nov. 16 as over 4,000 students decided to “Go Big” and attend various workshops during the day, attending a keynote address by Erin Trieb in the evening.
Trieb provided insight regarding photojournalism. Trieb decided to document wars and their effects on the human psyche for various clients including The New York Times and Newsweek in covering Iraq and Afghanistan. Later in her presentation, she discussed her experiences and the lessons she wanted her audience to take away from hearing about them.
“Just because the epic, high adrenaline, moments are over doesn’t mean that I put my camera down,” Trieb said. “You raise your camera, because the moment lasts a split second and then it’s gone.”
Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) Media advisers Adriana Chavira (The Pearl Post and Prestige Yearbook) and Mark Middlebrook (Pearl Net News) accompanied us on the trip and attended sessions themselves for advice in teaching students about interviewing and other skills.
The second day of the convention was dedicated to the “break with a pro” where students conversed with professionals in their field for feedback about their prospective career paths in journalism. The rest of the day was spent in breakout sessions where students picked up additional tips in writing and composing stories.
That night, students attended a late night event at a local art museum and, later, a dance.
We attended more breakout sessions on Saturday. It was time well spent, with over five new grounds for conversation each from the talks we attended. Around 2 o’clock, those of us who entered the write-offs attended critiques to see and hear about others’ work in their section.
At night, students got to go to a fair in the exhibition halls, learning how to trick rope, which is an art that Texans compete in, essentially spinning lassos. There was also a 360-degree photo booth. It was a last hoorah with plenty of games and prizes to help relax from the workshops and dozens of sessions in preparation for the big awards ceremony to come.
The last day began with the long-awaited awards. Within the write-offs, there were 1,581 participants and 646 winners.
Those who entered the JEA write-offs won in their respective categories from our school.
Opel and Ortega brought home honorable mention in the Broadcast: PSA category and I achieved excellent in Sports Action Photography.
After a few celebratory pictures commemorating the students’ achievements as winners from the only high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District to attend the convention in Dallas, Chavira and Middlebrook took us sight-seeing. We went to Dealey Plaza and got to tour the Sixth Floor Museum, both of which were only a short walk from the convention center and our hotel.
We gathered our belongings to leave that evening for the Los Angeles International Airport and finally returned home late at night just in time for Thanksgiving break.