Student journalists hone their skills at Wake up Call

  On Sep. 30, Paw Prints Weekly (PPW) staff and journalism program’s advisor, Ms. Robles, attended the Southern California Journalism Education Association’s (SCJEA) annual Wake Up Call event.

  The morning, hosted by Santa Ana College, consisted of a First Amendment Keynote Speaker and two breakout sessions with Santa Ana professors and journalism department faculty.  Topics like vertical design for mobile-media consumption, development of higher quality interview skills and printing miniature “zine” magazine issues were covered to help students improve their journalistic skills and publications. 

  One available breakout session provided information to high school journalists on how their publications can forge relationships with community college journalism programs. Action plans were provided to either encourage staff to take dual or concurrent enrollment classes to expand upon their writing skills, but also on how to establish Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways in journalism by advocating for it with high school and the respective community college’s administration.

  Santa Ana College Journalism Professor and dual enrollment coordinator for Middle College High School, Sarah Bennett, shares how the event was organized for students.

 “The SoCal JEA are the organizers of this event… and said they would like to host this event at a different college every year and asked if Santa Ana would be interested in hosting,” Bennett described. “I really just set up the facilities I put the call out to my school on the administrative side to just set up the facilities and then we set up our own sessions that they had requested…They wanted to make sure that there were social media sessions, a photography session, and one about our dual enrollment programs.” 

  Head Coordinator of Wake Up Call and So Cal JEA president Gaby Doyle explained how the planning process began this past summer. 

  “We started having our board meetings early to collaborate with the host college to set up the whole process. The college has to figure out what rooms are going to be used, and on our end, we really set up the session speakers and the keynote,” Doyle explained. “I hope attendees took something away about their rights in the classroom as journalists … [and] actually take new information back to the newsroom do it. Even if it is making your photographs better, or improving your interview skills, hosting staff bonding once a month–we hope that you take something from today and actually put it into action.”

  Something Doyle emphasized was how storytelling–being “the number one job as journalists”–can influence what and how attending students can conduct stories for the rest of the year. 

  “There might be things that you think might not be a big deal but that can be gone in a few years. Look at community history that you have to document so that memories are not lost,” Doyle explained. “When thinking about your school or community, what do we need to document? Journalists are really going to be the people who preserve history from an unbiased lens. What are the stories about your community and school that need to be preserved for generations to come”.

Reflecting upon the high attendance and positive feedback at the end of the day, Bennett shared her gratitude that “we all came together to make this happen for all the attending schools.”


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