Hoo-RAE!: Let’s see about D.C.


Photo by Lauren Kalama

Capitol Hill in a view from our Monuments by Moonlight trolley tour.

By Lauren Kalama, staff writer

Uncovering a story, obtaining evidence, interviewing, writing, editing, and publishing. These are the steps to a great story, or at least what I thought before going to the JEA/NSPA National High school Journalism Convention.

I learned that I was right, but there’s so much more.

On November 20, my journalism class headed to Washington, D.C. to attend the 4-day convention, which included over 6,000 students. Crazy, right?

Before starting the convention, there was a college fair that included various businesses and schools. Mostly all of the booths gave free stuff, and who doesn’t love that? We got free lanyards, beanies, and photo ID tags along with lots of free pens and informational pamphlets.

I, fortunately, got to have a one-on-one photography session with a yearbook pro and learned about controlling your flash to get the perfect lighting.

The convention also included keynote and breakout presentations and competitions that went on throughout each day.

I listened to Chuck Todd, an American television journalist, and also, Mary Beth Tinker, a free speech activist, who both, are well-known in the journalism world. I’m not afraid to admit that we fangirled…hard. We took pictures with her, got her autograph, and gave her ours as well.

Each hour-long session spoke about journalism, yearbook, or broadcasting. There were also classes about the law and First Amendment rights. Although we sometimes got lost, trying to find our classes, we eventually found them and always left with something new we learned.

Overall, it was a crazy fun experience due to the mix of students from different states, and we were all learning more about everything journalism and media. Not only was I able to make friends from different places, but also, I got closer to those in my class.

I am so happy and grateful that I got to travel to Washington, D.C. because, wow, that was different, but also, really cool. Now I can check off from my list another life experience that I will never forget.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better,” and from what I learned, journalism can be one of the best experiments there is.