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J-Day invites Alabama high schoolers to learn more about journalism

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Emma Daniel

News Editor

High school students from all over the state will have a chance to explore the world of student media on Thursday at the Hall School of Journalism and Communication’s (HSJC) annual J-Day Journalism Workshop.

The annual workshop features different activities attuned to each student’s interest. Participants can choose from multimedia, yearbook and broadcast classes, and high school student media will participate in contests, allowing students to praise and critique their own media.

The HSJC now hosts a panel of Troy graduates currently in the field, allowing both prospective and current students to connect with professionals.

“This year, we implemented a new format for the workshops,” said Morgan Drinkard, a lecturer of public relations and advertising. “We arranged the workshops where students get hands-on experience from professionals, learning how to work with student media into three different sections.”

Drinkard said many high schools have student media, and the workshop will give them valuable tips to improve.

“J-Day is a time when we hope students are able to learn more about student media, take that back to their schools and implement that skill set,” Drinkard said. “(Students will) be exposed to the media we offer here at Troy University and see the accommodations we have for teaching media at this school.”

Robbyn Taylor, a lecturer of journalism and communication studies, said J-Day offers Troy University as a viable option for students to eventually attend, giving a “new dimension to learning” with the hands-on activities.

“Even if they’re not coming to the journalism program, it’s maybe their first experience at Troy,” she said. “If (journalism) is something they’re passionate about, they want to pursue a career or come to college and figure that out, it’s kind of a gateway into that next step.”

Taylor expressed excitement over the professional panel, full of Troy graduates.

“Students can sit in on this panel and ask questions of our alumni about what they’re doing in the real world, what they should be focusing on now and what they should be doing as a college student,” Taylor said.

Ultimately, Taylor stressed the importance of staying open to new ideas. 

“Just take it all in,” she said. “Experience everything with a fresh set of eyes. 

“This could be a new way, something new to take back. What we ultimately want is for all the students to go back feeling empowered, doing things that are innovative at their schools, and when they’re ready to take that next step, to see us and be part of the HSJC.”

Students had the choice of multimedia, yearbook and broadcast sessions.

According to Taylor, the multimedia classes offer reporting, interviewing, personality profile and photography workshops for media. 

Katelyn Dewrell, a senior multimedia journalism major from Delta and the Palladium yearbook editor, said the yearbook section would judge yearbooks statewide and offer sessions on yearbook, personality profile, advertising and photography.

“I think it’s a really great thing,” Dewrell said. “(The workshops) do a lot of stuff that’s beneficial for us even though we’re in college, so I know it’s beneficial for high school students.”

Aaron Taylor, the television production coordinator for Troy TrojanVision, said students can do a mock newscast and run camera, direct or anchor, along with sessions on broadcast packages, broadcast sports recording, broadcast production and reporting for broadcast.

“J-Day provides opportunities through the years; we have a lot of people who come to Troy as a result of being students at J-Day,”  Aaron Taylor said. “It gives a good opportunity for students to get their feet wet, understand what’s going on and be around a semi-professional organization and do it the way the pros do.”

According to Joey Hudson, a host and digital media producer for Troy Public Radio, students can also stick to the radio side of broadcast with Troy Public Radio, also offering activities for students.

“This is looking to be one of the busiest J-Days ever, but we’re hoping to be able to speak to many of the visiting students about what it takes to work in public radio,” Hudson said. “We also anticipate working closely with a select few students so that they can produce their own fully voiced segments.”

No matter which section students would like to explore, the HSJC encourages students to explore and find where they’re happiest among multiple award-winning student media organizations.