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Feather staff members learn from professional journalists, apply new skills

In order to expand this article and to gain a broader spectrum, The Feather asks for participants of Fresno City College Journalism Day 2019 to share their experiences in the comment box below. Plus, high schoolers have attended other journalism conferences over the years. Please join us in sharing what you have learned about journalism from additional events in the comment section below. Scroll to the bottom of this article to watch The Feather’s video on #FCCJDay2019, Feb. 22.

Scholastic Journalism Week comes to a close and Feather staff members spend the day at Fresno City College for the third annual Journalism Day, Feb. 22. Hundreds of students from surrounding schools attend the conference to learn from professionals about the importance of high school journalism.

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Feather staffers Carston Saelzler (left) and Ethan Hamm, learn how to operate news equipment during the journalism day at Fresno City College, Feb. 22.

Students gathered in the Old Administration Building at 9 a.m., buzzing with questions. Throughout the day, Fresno area students had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions taught by media professionals, including executive Director of The Fresno State Institute of Media and Public Trust Jim Boren, ABC30 morning anchor Tony Cabrera, and News Director at KGPE/KSEE Chad McCollum. Participants visited three sessions during the event depending on their interests.

With 16 Feather students attending, some focused on learning about photography, column writing, or overcoming bias in the news. The Feather participates in the event every year to learn from experts in the journalism field and acquire new skills.

Using the hashtag, #FCCJDay2019 students tweet to share experiences throughout the day.

Dympna Ugwu-Oju, journalism professor at Fresno City College, organizer of the FCC Journalism Day for the past three years.
Feb. 22, 2019

“This is the third year of the conference,” Ugwu-Oju said. “We continue to have them because we have an interest in promoting interest in the field of journalism. We want these young people to meet media practitioners and listen to their experiences and be inspired by their experience here. We also want participants to see the journalism program at FCC as an option when they make their college choices. Journalists perform one of the key roles in the preservation of the American democracy. They set the agenda and shape the opinion of the electorate.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

KMPH Fox26 News Sports Reporter Nick King spoke on the challenges and offered tips on sports reporting, Feb. 22.

Bias and Stereotypes
Kathleen Schock, Deputy Director, Central Valley at California College Guidance Initiative
Feb. 22, 2019

“Today we did a session on bias and stereotypes in the media. I think it’s a really important thing to pay attention to because our ability to recognize bias and stereotyping protects us from being a victim of it. The only way to overcome it is recognize it and be honest about it. We all carry biases about different people based upon stereotypes shown in the past and if we don’t realize it, then we’re continuing to act off of those. When we can recognize it, when the stereotype comes up, we can recognize that and maybe make a better decision. Journalism day is great because there’s so much variety with the career of journalism. People who study journalism walk away with great communication skills, great writing skills, and they have a high analytical sense. Those are skills that we all need and they can help you find success in a variety of careers.”

In the following podcast, Chad McCollum News Director at KGPE/KSEEJoseph Kieta Executive Editor of The Fresno Bee, and KMJ Radio Program Director Blake Taylor share stories and experiences from their work in the professional journalism field.

Journalism Basics
Chad McCollum, News Director at KGPE/KSEE
Feb. 22, 2019

“I started out in journalism much like many of these high school students. Students are getting their first taste of journalism in a class, in a high school, in a city that had a great program at the time. If it hadn’t been for that program I would have ended up doing something different. So I got on this path and it has changed my life. I’ve been able to live in many different cities, I’ve had great experiences, it’s been a good job, but also a very fulfilling career. Journalism is important, it’s more important now than it has ever been. There is so much information coming into everyone’s phones and that has more power than anyone could ever imagine 15 or 20 years ago. Trying to make sense of all that and trying to figure out where journalism is going and how the next generation can make that happen.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Feather video journalists Blake Deffenbacher (middle) and Braden Bell (right) interview ABC30 morning anchor Toby Cabrera on his experience in broadcast television.

Bringing People Together
Elliot Nerenberg, Editor-in-chief of The Red and Blue, San Joaquin Memorial
Feb. 22, 2019

“I think knowing how to write, writing on important things, and inspiring people to read more about what is going on in the world, contributes to being a better individual. As in we learn more about what others feel and think and we learn about things we wouldn’t necessarily look into too much. The point of it all is to bring us closer together as people.”

New Perspectives
First year Feather staffer, Kyler Garza
Feb. 22, 2019

“For my first time going, I really enjoyed the conference. People from big news stations informed us about what journalism is today and where it’s going. Someone I really enjoyed listening to and learning from was Liz González from Fox 26. She was speaking on digging deeper into the topic you’re writing about and showed me a new perspective on journalism that involves being persistent until you get the right angle for your story.”

The Younger Generation
Joseph Kieta, Fresno Bee, Executive Editor
Feb. 22, 2019

“It’s great to be here to talk to young people today because that is when I got interested in journalism. What these students who are here today are going to do is they are going to shape the next generation of media. 15 or 20 years ago we didn’t know about social media, there really wasn’t anything like that, and now it’s dominating news and media. Today’s news travels through social media and that’s much different than it was two decades ago. When these students are older we’ll probably be talking about something completely different and that generation is going to shape what media will be in the future. I think the big thing that concerns me the most isn’t so much the format but how do we preserve journalism. There are students who are really interested in journalism and the question is how to keep journalism alive because it’s really more important now than it has ever been.”

Adapting to New Technology
Blake Taylor, KMJ Radio Program Director
Feb. 22, 2019

“The industry of radio has been pronounced dead on numerous occasions in the past hundred years and we are still alive and kicking. But things are rapidly changing in the industry of media conglomeration. My company for example, Cumulus bought us a few years ago and we have 600 plus stations across the country. Spanning from New York to L.A. to Fresno and all places in between. But radio is also trying to adapt to the current wave of new technologies so it’s really important for the young journalism and media minds to catch up and move forward as we come into 2020 and beyond.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Feather students gather outside of Fresno City College to start their day in the OAB Auditorium, Feb. 22.

First Amendment Rights
Whitney Prout, Staff attorney, CNPA
Feb. 22, 2019

“Today we are talking about students’ free speech rights and publication rights in California. The rights under the U.S. constitution as well as the right that California state law gives. Students are the future. There are a few groups that I can think of that are more important to know what their rights are. These days we see so many amazing student groups that are coming out and talking about issues that affect them directly because our society has not always served them properly and so it’s crucial for students to know both now and for the future what they can say, what they can do, and what their rights are.”

Applying Techniques
Feather staffer, Jacob Hyatt
Feb. 22, 2019

“I thought it was a great conference showcasing the faces of journalism in the Central Valley. All the instructors were friendly and knowledgeable. It was a great place to network and set up relationships that will benefit me in the future. I enjoyed hearing from digital executive producers Troy Pope and Jessica Johnson. They provided insight to the value social media and connections have on journalism. This provided information on how local news channels are utilizing social media to their advantage and how high schoolers can apply their techniques.”

Social Media Importance
Alexandra Kirkpatrick from Kerman High School
Feb. 22, 2019

“From this first session I learned about how important social media is and how it has an impact on the community. I learned how to use it for our school. I came with my journalism teacher to learn how to improve and expand our journalism club. We want to reach out to more students in our community. Social media was really interesting today but I am also interested in news anchoring and behind the scenes work.”

The following video produced and edited by Braden Bell and Blake Deffenbacher, highlights some of the speakers during the Fresno City College High School Journalism Day, Feb. 22.

In order to expand this article and to gain a broader spectrum, The Feather asks for participants of Fresno City College Journalism Day 2019 to share their experiences in the comment box below. Plus, high schoolers have attended other journalism conferences over the years. Please join us in sharing what you have learned about journalism from additional events in the comment section below.

For more articles, check out Scholastic Journalism Week comes to a close, Feb. 22 or Student voices in private schools.

Morgan Parker can be reached via email and via Twitter.

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