A trio of unconventional convention sessions

Teaching mindsets instead of skills in Dallas

By Michael Koretzky

Having presented at CMA conventions for 12 years, I’ve learned as much as I’ve taught. The biggest lesson: Students seek survival skills more than technical skills. The reason is simple: Before they can excel, they must cope.

In other words, survival means gaining control of inner demons before mastering InDesign. Running a college news outlet is the most stressful extra-curricular activity on campus, for two big reasons:

  1. It’s the only one constantly on deadline, and deadlines equal stress. If Student Senate can’t meet quorum, who cares? But if the newspaper doesn’t print or post on time, there’s hell to pay.
  2. It’s the only one that hires anarchists on purpose. Reporters need to question authority, which means they tend to do so with their sources – and their bosses. Arguments in college newsrooms can easily escalate from professional to personal, because everyone is new at managing conflict.

That’s why three sessions at the newly rejuvenated CMA-ACP convention in Dallas impressed me so much. They had nothing to do with a particular skill and everything to do with a general approach to life…

Coffee with the Elderly

About 40 percent of college and university students are 25 or older, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This statistic can make for interesting dynamics, especially in community college newsrooms: Oftentimes friction occurs when older students try to manage younger ones. And it’s even worse when younger editors supervise older staffers. Continue reading A trio of unconventional convention sessions