On Thursday, September 20th, Washington Journalism Education Association (WJEA) hosted Journalism Day, held at the University of Washington campus. I, Allie Perez, Kaitlyn Massey, and Jacob Hoxie, and the AHS Journalism club advisor Corey McCartney, left Anacortes High School (AHS) for the day to experience the conference and gather information for our own journalism club. The event, featuring presenters from all throughout Washington and a keynote speaker named Josh Trujillo, began with a meet and greet and a continental breakfast. After that, there were two sessions, where the presenters educated groups on everything from document formatting to student press laws. For Session One, Kaitlyn, Allie and I heard Peggy Watt, a professor of journalism at Western, discuss “legal snooping”. By using the Washington State Public Records Act and examining resources such as the Washington Coalition for Open Government (http://washingtoncog.org/ ) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (https://www.rcfp.org/), students can find documents, community meeting minutes, and request other information. In session two, Allie and I heard Teresa Scribner, a teacher at Cleveland High School in Seattle, discuss covering diversity in school publications. She described her experience as the only African-American female teacher at her school and how her high school news broadcast, Cleveland Publications, reported the school’s diverse population (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPbQ-0W5zUNkVyDVVrJNq7A/videos). In a series called Vantage Point, students interviewed faculty and peers about their experiences as minorities, first-generation college students, and how much name-pronunciation really matters.
Kaitlyn’s experience in session two, Copy Editing Counts with Casey Henry, was very illuminating. The presenter had six main goals of copy editing and discussed the need for editors in a writer’s world. Henry focused on the AP writing style, which Kaitlyn is “eager to implement into our [Journalism] club” The AHS Journalism club adviser Corey McCartney had a similarly enjoyable experience. Instead of going to the breakout sessions, he attended a session for advisers of clubs like ours. The WJEA adviser of the Year award was presented to Ted Lockery of Nathan Hale High School who vocalized that school journalism was a learning experience for all. Lockery also mentioned challenges his school newspaper faced, such as a controversial article’s backlash, and how his perspective as an adviser changed over his time at the school. Mr. McCartney found Mr. Lockery’s story influential and was proud of how Lockery and how his students “supported one another and grew stronger” in the face of controversy.
After the sessions, we all met in the Husky Union Building. After lunch, it was time for the keynote speaker, Josh Trujillo (https://www.instagram.com/joshtrujillo/ ), a visual journalist for almost 20 years, Trujillo’s work has been published in numerous newspapers, and he has covered everything from Seahawks football to anti-capitalist protests. Inside the Hogness Auditorium, where, earlier, a series of awards were presented to Washington high school news broadcasts and publications, Josh Trujillo shared a series of photographs which brought the audience to an eerie silence. Trujillo spoke about detail, and how a simple painting of, say, a young couple, in the background of a shot of an infatuated elderly couple adds deep meaning and character to an image. His shots of the 2014 Oso landslide were deeply moving, and photos from his 2001 trip to Afghanistan opened our minds and showed us the true power an image has on our psyche.
Recently, Trujillo was hired as Starbucks’ chief visual storyteller, and creative directed a series of short films called Upstanders, which show extraordinary humans helping each other and performing extraordinary deeds. We also watched an episode titled ‘Befriending Her Shooter,’ which detailed the story of a 13-year old boy’s prison sentence and friendship with his victim. The show emphasized Trujillo’s main points: that differentiation in a noisy visual world is increasingly important and that photography and videos are incredibly valuable, powerful methods of communication.
After the presentation, I got the chance to meet Josh Trujillo and ask him how he handled delicate situations and dealt with conflict. After shaking my hand and smiling, he told me that the trick was to read the situation and to remain a kind, reasonable force. “Basically, just don’t be a jerk,” he clarified. “Usually, you can tell just by looking at the people around you. If they get uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to back off and stop taking as many photos…”
After those words, a Q/A and media tours were scheduled, but it was the end of the event for us. Our minds flooded with valuable information and ideas for the future, we returned to AHS determined to make our Journalism Club even better!