Interviewing, writing, filming: a look into the 2019 FSPA Convention


Carson Francis

Gathering to take part in on-the-spot contests and take up short lessons on varying topics from social media to copy and design, journalism students across the state came together on Thursday, April 11 through April 13 for the Spring Florida Scholastic Press Association Convention.

Several of our press and broadcast team members attended this convention with advisers Courtney Hanks and Brian Kells, Hanks acknowledged as one of FSPA’s district teachers of the year.

Throughout the event,  students and advisers both attended sessions of mini-lessons in different areas journalism. These lessons provided new knowledge for everyone to take back to their own publications and to better improve their individual skills.

“The first day was really stressful just because of the yearbook spread contest I was in,” senior and yearbook Index Manager Morgan Costner said. “The second day I really enjoyed it because I took a lot of writing classes because that’s my weakest spot in journalism. I took those classes for me because I’m a senior this year, and I know in college I want to minor in journalism. It was really enlightening.”

During the stay, mandatory badges were worn by convention participants. These badges displayed QR codes to be scanned at check-ins for the different sessions and events.

“It’s necessary,” senior yearbook co Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Jackson said. “You’re at a resort, people are doing vacation stuff; people walking in the ballrooms. Some people might know what’s going on but for the matter of keeping it to journalism students who are interested in journalism, I think it was appropriate and I think it helped the organization of the entire event.”

Awards were given to winners of on-the-spot contests on the last day of the convention, followed by spring FSPA digital submissions prior to the event.

The yearbook staff gathered a total of 15 awards for the 18’-19’ You Wanna Be Us yearbook, with broadcast students Andrew McDermott and Michael Perri winning an All-Florida award for the short film Andrew’s Pencil. Altogether, UHSpress and Titan TV team won three best of best awards and a sunshine standout award.

By the end of the trip, UHSpress members brought notes home on improvements they could apply to their respective publications of the yearbook or blog. The knowledge gained helped every participant reflect on their own skills and what they can do to further develop them.