Thursday, April 12, 2012
Last year, due to a conflict, I did not get to participate in the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention at Ole Miss.
It was my first time to miss in a while. I thought organizer Beth Fitts might write me off.
But then several weeks ago, I got the e-mail from good friend Jon Scott asking me if I was interested in some more critiquing. We’ve become popular partners – in our own minds.
I gladly accepted again.
It’s always rewarding to meet with high school students and talk newspapers – from writing to photography to layout/design to advertising sales and more.
They come from all over the state and they’re doing good work.
Some of the students we met with this year, to critique their work, were from places like Ocean Springs, Madison Central and Oxford.
It was obvious they were outstanding students who loved their roles on the staffs of their schools’ newspapers.
It always reminds me of my days as sports editor and editor of my high school newspaper, The Aggie Bark. Those roles helped launch my career in journalism.
Some of the students we talk to at the annual convention want to pursue journalism as a career. Others will go different routes. But they agree, that whatever profession they choose, the experience of helping publish a student newspaper will benefit them on down the road.
One of the questions I specifically asked the high school students concerned the printed newspaper versus online. Most folks these days would have you believe that young people are 100 percent Internet-based.
One high school newspaper editor told us that the day the newspaper is passed out on campus, it is the quietest day of the month.
“Everybody is really reading it and talking about what’s in it,” she said.
All agreed that their focus is on print and that online is a second thought when it comes to newspapering.
Another newspaper staff member said the students love it when their photo or name appears in the newspaper.
“It’s more tangible – more permanent,” she said.
I guess that means there’s still such a thing as newspaper clippings on refrigerator doors.
I left Oxford the afternoon of March 30 upbeat about the future of the business I have loved since high school. And I appreciate the high school students from various schools in Mississippi giving me that encouragement.
I have a box of newspaper clippings – photos and stories – in a box at the house. Most are from my high school days and include things like photos of myself playing high school basketball and some write-ups, too, from those few times I scored in double digits. I go to the study and see the newspaper clippings of our children’s births and mine and Pam’s engagement announcement.
I go to my mom’s house and see where she has clipped out several newspaper columns I have written over the past 25 years, particularly those about family.
I’ve made a mistake personally by not saving every column I’ve ever written. It would be great reading and special memories some day for my children.
That’s what we do here at the newspaper – record memories. And they’re permanent – you can clip them.
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