Journalists ‘ready to go’ after Mega Workshop
By Madison Roth, Minnesota Daily
Eager journalism students filled the room, carrying their hopes and dreams with them as they settled into the dingy orange chairs. Chatter bursting with excitement rang in the ears of the staff members leading the workshop tracks.
This is the weekend the some 100 students had been anticipating for months: the 2023 Associated Collegiate Press College Media Mega Workshop.
Rick Green, executive editor and chief content officer of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, kicked off the workshop by asking staff and students where they were from, as every area of the country was represented in some way.
He asked the students why they were attending the conference.
Responses ranged from “We’re really excited to get different ideas from school and learn how to improve our newspaper.” to “If you have enthusiasm and trust in yourself, anything you’re putting out there, people are gonna listen.”
Other students and faculty responded with “I see all these people in this room and I want to help them get to where they want to go.” and “You guys are the best and we’ll all learn from each other.”
Green proceeded to tell the audience why student journalism, now more than ever, is important. He talked about the recent Northwestern scandal with their football team’s hazing allegations and how no major newspaper wrote the story. The students at Northwestern University did, though.
“You’re the future. You represent the next wave of journalists who will make a difference,” Green said.
He added that without student journalists, stories like what happened at Northwestern could have been swept under the rug. The students at the The Daily Northwestern decided to look into this story when nobody else was paying attention. While it started with a Friday-afternoon press release, the students followed up with some quality journalism, digging around until they unearthed the whole story.
Because of The Daily Northwestern’s story, the president of the University turned a two-week suspension of the football coach into the coach being fired.
“Have you ever wondered: Does the work you do matter?” Green said. “It’s one story, one person who wants to make a difference.”
Green shared one more story about the impact of one person.
He told of a woman in South Carolina who repeatedly shouted “Fired up. Ready to go.” at a rally for then Sen. Barack Obama in South Carolina.
The campaign adopted the slogan. Obama was, “Fired up and ready to go.”
Green challenged the students to be fired up and ready to go, pitting one side of the room against the other.
“Ready to go.”
Green stressed the importance of how much of an impact journalists can have on the world and how the students attending the conference should take advantage of being surrounded by the “best of the best.”
“I want you to soak up every opportunity you can,” Green said. “Are you fired up?”
And the crowd screamed back, “Ready to go.”
As the students rushed from their seats to find their classes, there was no doubt in their minds this weekend would not be one to forget.
Photos by Preston Jenkins, Western Kentucky University
To see more student images from the workshop, CLICK HERE.
To see more images from the workshop, CLICK HERE.
CORRECTIONS: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the student newspaper at Northwestern University and the student photographer. Both errors have been corrected.