Members of the Stallion newspaper and ABAC’s broadcasting class attended the National College Media Convention in Atlanta at the end of October. Over the event’s three days, critique and group feedback sessions took place that allowed student-run newspapers to have their latest issues reviewed by both their peers as well as professors from other institutions.
One of the most unique feedback sessions was the Midnight Snack, which saw students gather in the early midnight hours to evaluate each other’s publications over bowls of cereal.
The Stallion newspaper received praise from those in attendance, with Cassandra Uchida’s military article earning high marks from students who expressed how their schools rarely allowed them to write about controversial topics.
Aside from newspaper review, the convention also offered those aspiring to work in media a chance to network with one another while gleaning wisdom from experienced journalists, reporters, and other members of the media world who gave presentations all throughout the three-day event.
Speakers included Monic Pearson and M. Alexis Scott, the former being the first female and African American anchor the Atlanta TV station WSB-TV, while the latter served as president of Atlanta’s oldest Black newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, after working as a journalist for over twenty years.
ABAC’s very own Dr. Grant gave a speech on Carry the Load, an organization which gives students a chance to gain journalism experience traveling across the U.S. for an entire month reporting on the organization’s memorial marches.
Many speeches gave students not only practical advice but also blunt, honest truths regarding the difficulty of journalism in the modern world.
Atlanta News First’s Chief Investigator Brendan Keef, one of the most highly-awards journalists in America, cautioned students to be aware of the difficulty in making a living early on in journalism. In emphasizing this difficulty, he went on to say that, if his children told him they wanted to be journalists, he’d sit them down to talk them out of it.
When speaking for himself, however, he added that he would rather be broke and happy than be wealthy and miserable, a thought to be considered by all aspiring journalists who may find financial hardship in their careers.
Aside from speaking events, the event also hosted several booths representing other colleges, media groups, and student-centric organizations, each offering the attendants opportunities for their future.
Among the stands was Dr. Grant himself who chaired the College Media Association’s Film and Audio Festival, presenting awards to student-produced audio stories, newscasts, and short films.
The first-place winners included a short horror film titled “They Look Like People” by Ethan Harwell and Willaim Polk of Spring Hill College and a documentary titled “America After Roe: Catholic Hospitals” by Naomi Delkamiller from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
By the end of the convention, students from as far away as Hawaii all gained a deeper understanding of how to improve their journalism work and how to navigate the challenges of a journalist’s lifestyle. Though it only lasted a few days, the lessons learned and networking opportunities will likely serve the students that attended it well into the future.