Newspaper editors attend journalism conference: Columbia Scholastic Press Association educates aspiring journalists

Paul Verdirame, Contributing Writer

On Monday, Nov. 7, members of the newspaper club attended the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference at Columbia University.
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), founded in 1925, actively connects student journalists from high schools and colleges around the nation with professional journalists.  Whether this connection be through educational conferences, panels, or lectures, students are given countless opportunities to learn from people who have years of experience.  The CSPA, affiliated with Columbia University’s renowned Graduate School of Journalism, holds its annual conference on the first Monday in November.

One of two newspaper club faculty advisors, Ms. Evelina Zarkh, was responsible for organizing the trip to the conference, which began at 9 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.  The members of The Schreiber Times that attended were able to follow the day’s events on the official CSPA app, and had free reign over their own schedules.

“We all downloaded the app and were given access to the day’s schedule,” said junior Niki Gillman.  “We were able to look at all of the different lectures, each of which was 45 minutes long and was conducted by an established journalist in the business.  As someone who oftentimes has to interview people for articles, I went to a lecture about how to speak in front of other people to make yourself sound respectable.”

The advisers encouraged the attendees to choose lectures that would help them improve their specific sections of journalism. Giving the students the opportunity to pick their own seminars allowed them to develop where each individual lacked skill.

“The lecture I went to was about writing about music,” said junior and Assistant Editor of The Schreiber Times’ Arts and Entertainment section Nicole Calamari.  “It was very interesting and informative, especially because it was given by someone who knew a lot about music and even wrote many books on the topic.”

A prevalent theme at the conference was technology, specifically how to incorporate technology into the journalistic sphere. This is an important topic facing many professional newspapers today, seeing as most companies have made an effort to transition from print media to its digital counterpart.

“We as a society need to embrace technology to meet the demands of a changing world,” said junior Matt Corsitto.

In the end, the goal of the trip was to help students improve not only as reporters, but also as writers and editors.  Many lecturers focused on the best way to run a section, which will help The Schreiber Times staff enrich the newspaper.  Additionally, by exposing students to established journalists for popular news outlets like The New York Times, they were able to learn from people who have had years worth of experience.

“I found the event extremely helpful in honing our skills and reminding the staff where we need to focus our attention to better the newspaper each and every issue,” said junior Caroline Katz.