~ By Kaitlin C. Meier, student writer for the College of Arts and Humanities
Fresno State and Fresno City College partnered up for High School Journalism Day Friday, March 9, to introduce students to opportunities in the field of journalism. The event was held in the Old Administration Building at the Fresno City campus.
The event began with an opening session at 9 a.m. that included a welcome by Graciela Moreno of ABC30 to get attendants excited for the presentations and workshops concerning journalism.
Various presenters gave short words of encouragement around topics such as the importance of not only pursuing a career in journalism, but staying aware as active consumers in acknowledging communication as a central factor of today’s society.
The welcome also included a Rampage video featuring students of both Fresno State and Fresno City speaking on their experience as journalists at the collegiate level.
The goal of the event was to create connections between high school students considering a career in the field of journalism and the programs available at Fresno State and Fresno City.
Students who come to Fresno State’s Media, Communications and Journalism program can study in one of five options: advertising, public relations, multimedia production, broadcast journalism and print journalism. This event allowed potential incoming students a way of becoming aware of the many areas of study that are available within the program.
Ambassadors from both colleges’ journalism programs were in attendance to provide support and guidance for the event’s participants. High school students were able to engage with people who have experience in the field that can serve as mentors and role models, along with encountering students that are currently involved in the programs at each of the colleges.
The collegiate journalism student ambassadors were enthusiastic about being involved:
“I loved participating in High School Journalism Day as an MCJ Ambassador because it gave me a chance to speak with future Bulldogs about our department,” said Matt Broughton, a broadcast journalism major who participated as an ambassador. “The arts were cut at my high school and I went to a junior college before transferring to Fresno State, so I never had the opportunity to learn about journalism or media.”
Providing access to leadership and resources is mutually beneficial for the students and the journalism programs.
“Our hope is that students who are interested in media and communications careers will follow the pathway from Fresno City College to Fresno State and enroll in our program,” said Faith Sidlow, assistant MCJ professor at Fresno State.
Dr. Dympna Ugwu-Oju, journalism instructor and advisory board member at Fresno City, expressed the same hope for students:
“It is my hope that students, particularly those still in high school, recognize the paths to a successful college career,” Ugwu-Oju said. “Hopefully, they will plan to come to Fresno City College from their high schools and then transfer to Fresno State to complete their bachelor’s degree.”
Following the journalism day opening welcome, a panel discussion featuring professionals and educators of journalism spoke on their background and aspects of what pertains to this career path.
Panel topics included advice on aspects such as engaging in face-to-face interviews instead of relying on email or social media, not being afraid to ask questions and go after an interview that will benefit your story and various other tips and tricks for those considering a career in journalism.
Another topic discussed was the panelists’ personal experience on how skills in reporting can be applicable if one chooses to transition out of the field of journalism later in their career.
Lisa Maria Boyles, a former print journalist who is now the communications specialist for the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State, explained: “Those are skills that are very transferable to other areas. The only challenge was finding the first post-newspaper employer and convincing that one person, ‘I can do this!’”
From the opening session, participants dispersed to the workshops that each focused on a different aspect of journalism such as multimedia, radio, broadcasting, news writing, internships, fake news, ethics, sports, social media, making money in journalism and photography.
Sidlow helped in running several of the workshops, including “Podcasting for Radio and Beyond” and “Fake News, a Panel Presentation,” and expressed that it was a great experience for the faculty involved:
“We enjoyed running the workshops for the event. Several of our faculty participated and their reactions were all very positive,” Sidlow said.
As the second annual journalism day, the event has grown since the previous year:
“We offered a variety of workshops dealing with topics we were all excited about,” Ugwu-Oju said. “There were more media professionals on hand to talk to participants and we also had more schools in attendance.”
It is through workshops such as these that students are able to gain access to the types of programs they would not otherwise be exposed to. The event has a tremendous impact on the students that may transition into a journalism program as they enter college:
“I love the impact that the event had,” Broughton said. “Fresno City College is the only junior college in the Valley that has a journalism program and some high schools don’t have journalism programs, so I believe this event brought everyone together and got the word out about what they and the Fresno State MCJ program have to offer.”
Each workshop was 50 minutes long with a series of workshops split into three sessions. The event had more than 400 students from the Central Valley registered to attend, doubling the previous year’s attendance.
For additional information about Fresno State’s involvement with the event, click here.