On Friday, November 18, GFS hosted more than 120 student journalists from a dozen Philadelphia-area schools, including Masterman, Haverford, Lancaster Country Day School and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, at the Second Annual High School Journalism Conference. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., high school newspaper editors and writers discussed their work and attended workshops with professional journalists from such publications as Slate.com, the Seattle Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer, among others. The event was sponsored by the GFS English department and organized by editors and faculty advisors of the high school paper, Earthquake.
Four out of the eight visiting journalists were GFS alumni. Emily Bazelon ’89, senior editor at Slate.com and frequent New York Times Magazine contributor, delivered the keynote speech. In keeping with the conference’s theme, “Journalism through New Media,” she spoke on changes in the field of journalism. Bazelon encouraged high schoolers to maintain journalistic integrity in the face of the growing emphasis on speedy commentary. Following her talk students each attended two of seven different workshop sessions.
The workshops covered a variety of topics and media. PJ Vogt ’04, a producer for the NPR show On the Media, led an exercise in radio editing. Carole Carmichael, assistant managing editor for community engagement at the Seattle Times, gave a presentation on dealing with ethical dilemmas on a deadline. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Karen Heller, a long-time columnist and a GFS parent, worked with students on writing opinion pieces. Rebecca Traister ’93, a Salon.com editor and author of last year’s critically-acclaimed Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women, spoke about writing on politics and pop culture. Zach Baron ’00, an arts critic at the Daily, gave a presentation about using the Internet to create a personal brand. Ron Tarver, a photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, led a workshop on photojournalism. And Sarah Detwiler, a tech advisor at GFS, taught a session on newspaper layout and design.
Between workshops, students participated in roundtable discussions focused on their experiences and issues with high school journalism. Led by five editors of the GFS Earthquake, they covered such topics as censorship in high schools papers, student journalists’ technology use, and maintaining journalistic integrity within a high school.
Carole Carmichael closed the day with a brief presentation on ethical questions to remember in the newsroom. The engaged students dispersed mid-afternoon after trading copies of their respective school papers.