High school journalists and teachers polish skills, network at GSPA’s Winter Conference

High school journalists and teachers polish skills, network at GSPA’s Winter Conference

June 01, 2022
Juli Bernstein/Stephanie Morenojulianne.bernstein@uga.edu/s.moreno@uga.edu

More than 300 hundred high school journalists and teachers across the state gathered at the University of Georgia’s Tate Student Center on Feb.10 for the Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s Winter Conference. After several years apart, attendees celebrated being “Back Together,” a theme suggested by GSPA Ambassador Anna Rachwalski of Midtown High School.

Ralitsa Vassileva teaches about storytelling and sustainability. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Professionals, faculty, staff, high school media advisers, and college and high school journalists led more than 40 sessions on important scholastic journalism topics. They covered graphics, social media, student press freedoms, sports journalism, visual journalism, writing and many other subjects. 

In addition to providing informative sessions, the conference also served as an opportunity to network and form connections,” GSPA Student Ambassador Jordan Tovin reflected in an essay about the event. Tovin currently serves as photo editor for Woodward Academy’s Phoenix yearbook. “Because the conference attracted students from all across Georgia, I spoke with editors and writers from Atlanta to Athens—discussing how to manage staff and the type of pieces that we publish. The conference provided a chance to see how I can improve the publications on which I work.” 

Grady College faculty and staff instructors included: Amanda Bright, Dodie Cantrell-Bickley (MFA ’17), Dean Charles Davis (MA ’92), Carlo Finlay, Marcella Genut (AB ’18), Keith Herndon (ABJ ’82), Mark Johnson, Lori Johnston (MFA ’17), Kim Landrum, Kyser Lough, Samantha Meyer (ABJ ’13, MA ’14), Vicki Michaelis, Brittney Minor, Jonathan Peters, Sabriya Rice, Ralitsa Vassileva, Joe Watson and Dayne Young (ABJ ’11). Alumni Joe Dennis (MA ’07, PhD ’16), Allison Floyd (ABJ ’97, MA ‘19), Charlotte Norsworthy (AB ’19, MA ’20) and Lauren Patrick (ABJ ’07) also taught classes. 

Students from Mary Persons High School visit Newsource. (Photo: Stephanie Moreno)

Throughout the day, staff and college students led tours of the Journalism building and Newsource, giving conference attendees a glimpse of what it is like to work in a real newsroom and what it means to be a Grady student.

Offered as conference extras, some attendees showcased their experiences through an On-the-Spot Social Media contest featuring Instagram and Twitter posts in a variety of ways. Others explored the theme of “Reflection” through an On-the-Spot Photography contest.

Students and teachers left the event buzzing with excitement and looking forward to GSPA’s Spring Workshop and Awards on April 11 at the UGA Georgia Center.

The Georgia Scholastic Press Association, housed within Grady College, was organized in 1928 to promote the understanding and practice of journalism. GSPA’s goal is to enhance middle school and high school broadcast, literary magazine, newspaper, news magazine, news website and yearbook programs by providing networking and skill development opportunities.