October 29 is the Garden State Scholastic Press Association’s Fall Press Day, at Rutgers’ Busch Campus Center in Piscataway, NJ. This annual event features speakers, workshops, critiques, a write-off contest, awards, a newspaper exchange, and the chance to network with other student journalists and advisers.
Once again, I will be speaking at this event, and I’d love to say hello if you are attending. I’ll be giving a talk on Newspaper Layout Fundamentals using InDesign, so check the schedule to see when I am presenting.
The GSSPA’s Fall Press Day attracts hundreds of students and advisers from across the state. Their Spring Adviser Conference brings together newspaper and yearbook advisers who are working to keep New Jersey journalism education great. If you are not a member of the GSSPA or the scholastic press association in your state, I highly recommend that you consider joining. The cost is low and the advantages are many.
Joining your state or regional press association helps strengthen scholastic journalism; gives a voice to the people who are in the trenches educating young people; and finally, puts responsible journalism on the map and keeps it there. Scholastic press associations are a crucible for dedicated educators who are strong advocates for active high school journalism programs. Scholastic press associations help advisers and students produce more and better journalism.
Press days are filled with interesting and helpful learning sessions. You might find out about a program, app or rubric that will be helpful to you and save time or money. A single comment made during a discussion, or a tip casually mentioned in the hall, could be just the answer to a problem you are struggling with. Information gained at a press day could make the difference between winning an award or just trying for one.
A large percentage of professional journalists got their start in high school, and many scholastic press associations provide scholarships and hold contests that may lead to awards for your staff, which, in turn, may help students when they apply for college or for professional jobs.
Student press associations are usually open to school-sponsored newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, television/radio and online media staffs. Visit the StudentPress.org website for a list of state and regional press associations.