Tuesday, 112 high school students gathered at The University of Southern Mississippi for the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Fall Training Workshops.
The air was filled with energy as they entered the general assembly for President Bennett’s welcome and Ashton Pittman’s keynote address.
Students from Clinton Christian, Enterprise, George County, Hattiesburg, Jackson Preparatory, Madison Central, Murrah and Oak Grove high schools attended the workshops.
Maggie Williams, professor at the university, led the news and feature writing session. She addressed that there was a smaller attendance this year. “We have fewer students, but they seem more serious and interested in the subject matter,” Williams said.
Williams said each of her sessions were different in student size. “The first class was large. The second was smaller and more like a conversation, so it worked very well,” Williams said.
The sessions offered at the workshop were InDesign/Photoshop, going digital/social media, photography, interviewing, news and feature writing, yearbook design, newspaper design, broadcast lab and leadership.
One high school student particularly enjoyed the leadership session. Alexia Bailey, junior at Murrah High School, said she delighted in interacting with the students in the session. “We were able to hear about the other student’s perspectives and how their leadership situations are at their school,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s favorite session leader was Jared Hollingsworth, who taught the broadcast lab session. “He was laid back and funny, which made the session more fun for all of us,” Bailey said.
The students were able to register for four different sessions. Because they had the ability to choose what sessions they wished to attend, they explored the areas of their highest interest.
Mandy Nace, assistant to the director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism, said the workshop was a good way for the students to get a taste of how the journalism world works.
“Between Dr. Bennett’s welcome and Ashton Pittman’s keynote, the students were exposed to the idea that journalism is ever evolving. To be a journalist, you have to be a chameleon (and) adapt to your surroundings,” Nace said.