Staffers get real at UH Mānoa Journalism Day


Photo by Ashley Morishita

Honolulu Star-Advertiser news writer Dan Nakaso gives advice about press releases University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s annual Journalism Day, Sept. 13. Student journalists, including ours, attended to learn about real-life reporting.

By Ashley Morishita, news writer

Ka Leo O Nā Koa staff members traveled to Oʻahu for Journalism Day at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa to gain insight on real-life journalism this Saturday, Sept. 13.

Journalism Day is designed for young journalists who not only enjoy sniffing out the latest news or drama on campus, but who want to learn more about how to get informative and trending news out to their readership.

UH Mānoa journalism adviser, Mr. Jay Hartwell, said that one key for all journalists is that the truth must be verified. This displays both professionalism and respect for those who are quoted within articles.

During Journalism Day, various press conferences were held. The press conferences were real-life events or news stories that are actually going to be covered through media outlets larger than high school newspapers.

I and one of my colleagues, senior Maile Sur, attended an intriguing press conference by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaiʻi Foundation.

Ms. Holly Berlin, a junior at Columbia University said she has always been passionate about civil rights, which is why she is an active advocate for the ACLUʻs Youth Rights Guide. The guide emphasizes the importance of rights for Hawai’iʻs public school youth.

Prior to the press conferences, the students met with mentors who helped prepare them with questions to ask.

In the ACLU case, students met with Mr. Dan Nakaso and Maui native Ms. Nanea Kalani, who both write for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The mentors helped students craft an appealing lead after the conferences. The lead, in journalism, gives an overview of what the rest of the article will be about.

When the exercise was over, students got to ask their mentors about their backgrounds.

Kalani was born and raised in Hāna, Maui. She is a Hāna High School graduate and wrote for The Maui News for a short while before she moved to Honolulu.

Born and raised in San Jose, Calif., Nakaso is a news reporter for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the largest newspaper in Hawaiʻi. He said that, growing up, he always wanted to be a sports writer.

Then in high school, there was a fire on campus. Though the school administration did not want Nakaso’s journalism class to write about it, he did anyway. After making several calls to the fire department, he learned that the fire was, in fact, started by a student who attended his high school.

Because of that, he said, he became more open-minded to writing about more than just sports. Nakaso said he had been offered five internships for the Los Angeles Times by the time he was a senior.

With decades of experience in both writing and editing, Nakaso had much to share with students.

“Newspapers don’t print the truth, they print people’s version of the truth,” he said.

One other Ka Leo o Nā Koa staffer, features editor Destinee Murray, attended. She spent the day with mentors in feature writing.

The day of workshops also offered specialized instruction in sports writing, video production, blogging, page design, photography, and online journalism.

Students also conversed with other Hawai’i students during lunch.

At the end of the day, Mr. Hartwell wrapped up by encouraging those who want to pursue a career in journalism.