Student journalists are inspired by speakers, Newseum at the National College Media Convention

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Senior design students receive an award for their 2019 documentary

By Emily Walker

This year, a group of students from The Crimson attended The National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C. At the convention, we learned new skills for reporting, laws about gathering information, and heard from keynote speakers such as Marty Baron and Nina Totenberg.

This was my second year attending the convention. Attending as a more experienced reporter and The Crimson’s editor-in-chief was an even more fulfilling experience. I attended sessions on intensive topics that dug into the laws of journalism, as well as ones discussing how to get a job after graduation. And being in the city with a great group of friends, I made memories I’ll never forget.

Communication senior design students earn award for documentary at the National College Media Convention in October.
The documentary “Where Champions Are Born,” produced by students in the 2019 communication senior design class won third place in the College Media Association (CMA) Film and Audio Festival in the long documentary category.  Emily Walker and Jesse Villaverde, members of the team that produced the documentary, accepted the award on behalf of the senior design class.

One of the highlights of the trip was our morning at the Newseum. The Newseum is a museum dedicated to journalism. It has an exhibit displaying the history of newspapers—with newspapers from the 1400s until today preserved and on display, as well as a room with a wall of newspapers from around the world covering 9/11, and a gallery dedicated to Pulitzer Prize-winning photos.

From the outside, you might think it’s simply about journalism, but the Newseum holds a much deeper history. Through the media on display, we were able to see the way our country has changed over the past couple hundred years in areas like slavery, women’s rights, and LGBTQ equality.

While journalists’ jobs are not to advocate for the oppressed, it is our job to be there, covering what is happening. Being at the Newseum helped open my eyes to the important role journalists have played in the history of this country, if not the world. By being there, reporting the news, they made the truth of what was happening around them available to the public. It helped inspire change. It cost some journalists their lives.

I spent the week immersed in an environment that encouraged us to be tenacious – to relentlessly search for the truth even when it feels buried beneath policies or legislation. It’s our job to write about topics that are difficult, painful, and heartbreaking at times.

The Newseum is closing at the end of this year due to a lack of funds, and this was my final convention, as I graduate in December. The convention and the Newseum not only taught me so much about journalism, but also renewed a desire within me to go out and do what I’ve been learning how to do these past few years.

A quote on the wall at the Newseum by H.L. Mencken perfectly captures not only what it was like to be a student attending this conference, but to be a reporter in general: “I know of no human being who has a better time than an eager and energetic young reporter.”

About the author: Emily Walker is a senior Multiplatform Journalism student and editor-in-chief of The Crimson. She will earn her degree in December 2019.

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Heidi Hatfield Edwards is professor of communication, and chair of communication programs in the School of Arts and Communication at Florida Institute of Technology.

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