Broadcast Editor Kelly Fulford shows the highlights from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association conference, which was on Nov. 1. ODYSSEY Media Group veterans and Journalism I students attended the conference held at the University of Georgia’s Tate Student Center. “I hope the Journalism I students were able to see that ODYSSEY, and journalism in general, is so much more than just our school and our community,” Sports Editor Hannah Gale said. Video by Kelly Fulford.
For first-time attendees and conference veterans, the Georgia Scholastic Press Association fall conference offered something for all.
At the 2017 fall Georgia Scholastic Press Association conference, hosted by the Grady College of the University of Georgia, over 700 students gathered to attend sessions about different aspects of journalism.
Fifty-five students from the ODYSSEY Media Group attended the conference at the Tate Student Center, including students from the Journalism I class, which is composed of first-year staffers, the production class, which is composed of veteran sophomores, juniors and seniors, and the Leadership Team for the iliad Literary-Art Magazine.
“At GSPA, it was a really fun time to connect more with ODYSSEY people, because I feel like for iliad, the (Editorial Board), we’re really close, but it was really fun just to have some time with the ODYSSEY people and then meet new people also at the conference, which was cool,” iliad Writing Director Camille Flurry said.
The conference began with an introduction given by Dr. Charles Davis, the Grady College Dean, which was followed by a brief awards ceremony, in which the iliad Literary-Art Magazine received recognition.
“I’m really proud that the iliad was recognized this year,” 2017-18 iliad Editor-in-Chief Violet Merritt, a CCHS senior, said. “Last year’s leadership and I worked really hard to create the best magazine we could that would showcase CCHS artists and writers, so I’m glad that effort was acknowledged by GSPA.”
After the awards ceremony, students were given a variety of sessions to choose from, which made up the remainder of the conference. Adviser David Ragsdale, News staffer Mackenzie Caudill and Director of Audience Engagement Olivia Ripps presented “Engaging Through Social Media” to more than 50 attendees in a packed room.
“Our room was pretty full, so I felt like we had a lot of different views in the room and it was a really good dynamic,” Caudill said. “People were talking to each other, people were interacting, it was just a really good presentation, and I feel like it was a session that I would want to be in and that I would want to attend.”
Winder-Barrow High School senior Taylor Gray appreciated the insight she gained from the session and put her new knowledge to work with her staff.
“Out of all the sessions I attended at GSPA, I would consider Engaging through Social Media the one I took the most away from and the one most applicable to my staff’s everyday interactions with the student body,” Gray said. “I was able to come back to my staff the next day and utilize ideas and tools (such as Adobe Spark) that I learned about in the session to begin creating content that will appeal to the student body, get their attention, and hopefully increase book sales.”
GSPA was the first field trip where both the Journalism I students and the production students were able to interact with each other, and Sports Editor Hannah Gale was pleased with the bonding that she saw between the two groups of students.
“Just seeing everyone mixing together and talking together was really awesome,” Gale said. “(Since GSPA), I notice people are talking to each other and becoming more comfortable asking each other for help, which is exactly what we hoped this trip would accomplish.”
For Journalism I student Maya Cornish, the conference offered a greater level of depth and understanding of journalism.
“At GSPA, I learned a lot more about journalism than I do in class. I went to one session about grammar and AP Style, which I took a lot of notes on, and that was just super helpful,” Cornish said. “I just liked how the sessions were more in-depth than what we do in class.”
GSPA was also Flurry’s first conference and she felt she acquired important skills she hopes to implement.
“I think I just really learned how to fix problems within your own group, just how to really make your own team strong and work well together and have a good time also while doing that,” Flurry said.
While Flurry and Cornish were at their first conference, ODYSSEY Media Group Co-Editor-in-Chief Aneesa Conine-Nakano has been to numerous local, regional and national conferences. She hopes this year’s GSPA will inspire her staff to learn from each other.
“I think (attending GSPA) should just encourage (ODYSSEY members) to present more at conferences to give other people good experiences. It just reinforces that we have the opportunity to present, in our class and at these conferences, and we should take it, so that others have better experiences and can get more out of (GSPA),” Conine-Nakano said.
As the conference came to a close, Gale, who works with the J1 students as a writing coach, is hopeful the day made an impact.
“I hope the Journalism I students were able to see that ODYSSEY, and journalism in general, is so much more than just our school and our community,” Gale said. “I hope them seeing people from all over the state who are interested in journalism will help them when they get frustrated or when they want to give up because they’ll realize that the work they’re doing impacts so much more than just Clarke Central High School and our community.”
The 2017 Iliad Literary-Art Magazine for received a Superior evaluation in the 2016-17 Literary Magazine competition of the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
The 2017 Iliad Literary-Art Magazine received General Excellence in the 2016-17 Literary Magazine General Excellence competition of the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
The 2017 Iliad Literary-Art Magazine was rated as “All Georgia Literary Magazine” – Best of the Best for 2016-2017.
Zoe Peterson was awarded an Honorable Mention in the best on-site photograph competition of the Georgia Scholastic Press Association at the fall conference on Nov. 1, 2017.
Mara Bastow “Roach” Superior Poetry In recognition of outstanding achievement in scholastic journalism during 2016-17 from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
Delia Adamson “Absence” All Georgia Poetry In recognition of outstanding achievement in scholastic journalism during 2016-17 from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.
Kri Hair, Sara Goodie and Violet Merritt “When the forest burns” All Georgia Cover Design In recognition of outstanding achievement in scholastic journalism during 2016-17 from the Georgia Scholastic Press Association.