Attend a Convention: Amp up staffers’ love for journalism with a cool field trip

One of the best ways to spark a love for journalism in your students is to attend a national convention. Journalism conventions provide opportunities to network with professionals, see award-winning publications and learn from experts.

Two of the leading scholastic journalism organizations in the country, JEA (Journalism Educators Association) and NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association), collaborate on national events, hosting fall and spring journalism conventions every year. This November, about 5,000 students will attend the fall convention in Dallas.

Why bring your students to a convention?

Education ignites motivation

Journalism conventions such as this feature high-profile keynote speakers, giving your staff a chance to learn from and be inspired by journalists from different fields and backgrounds. Whether it be a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer or an Emmy Award winning reporter, exposing students to the world of journalism and career options available can both inspire and motive.  Students also have the opportunity to attend a variety of journalism sessions, learning about everything from design and typography to understanding diversity in media.

Compete for awards (and bragging rights)

Write-off contests give students a chance to put their skills to the test and compete against student journalists from across the country and abroad. Contests span the journalism spectrum, covering everything from yearbook caption writing to broadcast commentary. Contests are judged by qualified professionals and educators from across the country, and awards are given during the closing ceremony. Click here to learn more about JEA/NPSA’s write-off contest opportunities.

Grow your network

Conventions give journalism students and educators alike the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, learn about journalism career opportunities and develop mentoring relationships with seasoned professionals. Conventions are also a great place for students to visit with representatives from college and university journalism programs who attend as exhibitors.

Staffs also can have publications critiqued, attend round tables with professional media and see yearbooks from around the country.

For those unable to attend the convention in Dallas in November, CSPA (Columbia Scholastic Press Association) also provides a similar experience, hosting its annual spring convention every March in New York City.  JEA and NSPA’s spring event is in San Francisco this April. That’s ample time to save money and plan travel for one fabulous field trip. Need help convincing your administration to let your staffs travel? Check out Why Conventions Matter.

State organizations also host journalism conventions and offer critique services and awards to motivate your staffs and build individual and staff resumes. Here’s a list of state organizations.

Stop in for a Balfour Plant Tour while you’re in Dallas

Attending journalism conventions can spark creativity, energize your students and help build your staff. We hope to see you in two months in Dallas! If you’re coming to the convention, we’d love to show you around our yearbook publishing plant. Tours for you and your staff can be scheduled on Thursday, November 16. Sign up here.