Yearbook Attends the JEA/NSPA Conference in Washington, DC

Yunona Shkolnikov, Writer

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Yearbook staff members and Mrs. Polak traveled to DC this weekend to attend the JEA/NSPA conference in Washington, DC.

Approximately 5,000 students from across the country attend this conference each year to learn skills associated with student publications and to compete in onsite and mail-in competitions. Students who attend this conference are usually yearbook, broadcasting, online news site, newspaper, and literary magazine staff members. Students learn from industry professionals as well as some of the best student publications advisors and student editors in the country. According to JEA.org, students learn how to organize their staffs more efficiently and how to fundraise and advertise, but most of the workshops help students improve their writing, graphic design, photography, videography, and even social media.

Canon Tidwell, a yearbook member, said, “The conference provided an opportunity for us to learn just what it means to be writers, journalists, and storytellers in the real world. We were able to learn how to conduct interviews, how to deal with controversy in your writing, and how to truly connect with the people whose story you are telling. This was all taught by expert level journalists, writers, and professors. It is beneficial to attend the conference because it allows you to improve your skills and connect with others within the field of journalism.”

Alora Watts, another student that attended the conference, shares that she got to meet Matt Wuerker who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American political cartoonist and the founding staff member of Politico. Wuerker got to speak about how he creates editorial cartoons and illustrations for both the print and online platforms. Students were inspired by the speaker and learned that his work was featured in magazines such as The Nation, Newsweek, and The Smithsonian. They learn that through hard work and effort, they could potentially work for successful companies like Politico in the future.

*photos courtesy of Mrs. Polak

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