JMC journalism students cover the Ohio Newspaper Association Convention in ColumbusPosted Feb. 25, 2014
By Hannah Hamner
Seven JMC students made a name for themselves at this year’s Ohio Newspaper Association Annual Convention held in early February in Columbus, where Ohio Governor John Kasich was a featured speaker.
Daniel Moore, Madeleine Winer, Audrey Fletcher, Katherine Schaeffer, Katie Nix, Matt Merchant and Jacob Byk were writing as members of the Student News Bureau. The students compiled their coverage of the speech sessions in a special edition newsletter for ONA.
“This is easily the best bulletin our student journalists have put together in several years,” ONA’s Manager of Communications and Content Jason Sanford said. “Their work was top notch – beautiful design; great photography. They should be really proud.”
Sanford acted as a supervisor to the students, helping them plan what they were going to cover and working with them to fine-tune the end product.
“I felt really comfortable going to him if we ever had a problem,” senior magazine journalism major Winer said. “He was really flexible with what we wanted to do and how we saw the coverage playing out and was always checking on us to make sure everything was okay. The ONA in general was easy to work with. They let us do our own thing but guided us in the right direction.”
Each year, the ONA choses a different Ohio university to cover the convention.
“It was a good opportunity not only for me to hear the speakers and see where they see the journalism field going,” Winer said. “But to also be around those top dogs of the newspaper industry in Ohio and meet them and get their take on this. I got so many business cards.”
Sanford encouraged students to hand out their information as well, especially since the convention was teeming with potential future employers. Both Winer and Daily Kent Stater editor Moore met professionals who have experience in the careers they want to enter.
In addition to networking, students were grateful for an opportunity to work with classmates outside of the Franklin Hall newsroom.
“My favorite part of attending was working with my peers,” senior magazine journalism major Fletcher said. “It was fun to be part of a team all working towards the same goal and to have that ownership of the final product. I think all of us collaborated well, and we were able to play to all of our strengths as we covered the conference. I am so lucky to have been part of such a great group.”
But it wasn’t all fun and games. The day was a “whirlwind,” each student covering two to three sessions throughout the day and transcribing in the makeshift newsroom in between speeches.
“One of us was always tweeting or writing or interviewing,” Winer said. “So at the end everyone was so exhausted.”
The Kent State journalists spent the weekend after the convention completing articles and designing the news bulletin.
“Putting it all together was pretty hard,” Moore said. “When we first went down there it sounded really easy and we were kind of joking about it, but we really didn’t have much time there to write. Ideally, I like to write things right away, so that was kind of annoying, but we had to do it.”
One way to overcome the challenge of the time crunch was collaboration, Fletcher, the main bulletin designer, said.
“Matt helped with the design, and I am so happy he did because I wouldn't have finished it without his help,” Fletcher said. “Designing is something I only do occasionally on the side of writing, so it was great to be able to have an opportunity to design something from scratch.”
The students believed the time commitment was worth it.
“The finished bulletin looks great,” Nix said. “The set up flows really well and the stories are well-reported and having seen some of the previous convention-issues of the bulletin, I think ours looks the best, but I might be a little biased.”
Winners of the 2014 Ohio Collegiate Newspaper and Website Competition were acknowledged at the convention as well. The Daily Kent Stater won first place for news coverage, opinion writing and sports coverage.
The finished newsletter can be found at http://www.ohionews.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ConventionBulletinFeb2014.pdf.
Caption: JMC student journalists covering the ONA convention included (front row, left to right): Katherine Schaeffer, Daniel Moore, Jacob Byk, Audrey Fletcher; (back row, left to right): Katie Nix, Jason Sanford (manager of Communications & Content for ONA), Mitch McKenney (KSU student media adviser), Matt Merchant and Madeleine Winer. (Photo by Rich Workman)