Newsstreak staff members attend national journalism convention


Valerie Kibler

The Newsstreak staff stops for a photo while at the national journalism convention in Anaheim, CA.

At 2:15 a.m. on Apr. 24, twelve members of the Newsstreak staff gathered in the HHS parking lot to drive to Dulles Airport and catch the 7 o’clock flight to LAX. They were on their way to the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim, California. The convention is the largest gathering of student journalists in the country; 4,000 students and advisors were packed into the Hilton Anaheim to learn from some of the best journalists and advisors in the country. This was sophomore sports editor Caleb Goss’s, first convention.

“I went to the convention to figure out what our paper as a whole needs to work on, what other schools do and how we can compete at the top level and have a really good newspaper,” Goss said. “I know right now we have a really good newspaper, but there are still things as a group that we struggle with and need to work on. I just wanted to learn how I can contribute to the team and work on that.”

Goss didn’t know what to expect going into the convention, but as far as how the sessions went, he was disappointed.

“[I was] expecting to learn more than what I can say I did, which sounds kind of sad but it’s the truth. Going into it, I had high hopes about learning,” Goss said. “My eyes were opened to new designs and to what other schools are doing, and I can take that away, but a lot of the things I felt I already knew or had a strong sense of.”

Unlike Goss, the Anaheim Convention marked senior Nyah Phengsitthy’s sixth and final journalism convention. Many times, it is difficult for seniors to attend the spring convention because of AP testing and because the seniors don’t have time to implement new things they learn on their staff. However, Phengsitthy was an outlier.

“I decided to go because a friend wanted me to go, but I also knew that it was going to be my last convention and it doesn’t hurt to learn more,” Phengsitthy said.

Phengsitthy not only attended the convention for the sessions, but she also received her award for winning Virginia State Journalist of the Year. As part of winning the state competition, Phengsitthy moved on to the national competition. She placed as a runner-up for National Student Journalist of the Year.

“When I found out, I was really surprised because a lot of the other state journalists are amazing and great,” Phengsitthy said.

Phengsitthy is attending Elon University in the fall, and because of her interest in journalism, she plans to continue with it in the fall. She attended a few design classes at the convention and hopes to implement them in the fall at Elon.

“I learned a few more design tips, and I definitely want to continue with designing, whether that’s helping with their website or their newspaper,” Phengsitthy said. “Even if my role isn’t big there, I hope I can contribute in any way, even if it’s just small.”

After attending six conventions, Phengsitthy believes journalism conventions allow staff members to learn with a new perspective.

“It’s a different learning experience. You definitely are going to take notes and go through a slideshow, but you’re learning differently because you’re learning with other students [from] around the country,” Phengsitthy said. “You’re going to learn stuff that you never [would’ve] thought [you should] know. Journalism conventions sound really nerdy, but the different breakout sessions are really interesting.”

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