During the early morning hours of Thursday, November 16, 13 Huntley High School journalists and three advisers took to the friendly skies to attend the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. The convention, Go Big Dallas, was held at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas from November 16-19.
The Voice, The Harmony, and Raider Nation News staffs have attended this conference since 2005. In recent years, conferences were held in Boston (2013), Washington D.C. (2014), Orlando (2015), and Indianapolis (2016).
The students and advisers attended a variety of sessions, with topics including design, editing, ethics, leadership, multimedia broadcast, news literacy, photojournalism and the web.
The Voice online editor Emma Kubelka and print editor Maggie McGee attended a session, “Sex, Drugs, and Controversy,” which gave them insight on how to effectively cover controversial topics and how to work with administrators when doing so.
“It motivated me to want to make changes like these other schools have done,” Kubelka said. “If a town in Pittsburg, Kansas can change lives through the work they produce, we can do it here, too.”
The team took what they learned in their respective sessions and had a meeting upon returning to Huntley to discuss how they could implement their new knowledge and skills to better their award-winning publications.
Newspaper adviser Dennis Brown attended eight sessions and is looking forward to putting the lessons he learned to use.
“You learn some practices and ideas from some of the best advisers of the country,” Brown said. “I’m always looking for things to get better, and this is where you get those ideas. I love how it changes our perspective.”
During their free time, the students toured the Sixth Floor Museum in the Texas Book Depository Building, and Dealey Plaza, site of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. They also explored the city, and immersed themselves in Southern culture, which meant multiple trips to food trucks for street tacos and barbecue.
Although it was a quick trip, the Raiders met many journalists from around the country and were given the opportunity to swap publications, ask questions, get ideas, and make friends with students who share similar interests.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to network and to ask other people who have the same position as you do how they handle certain scenarios,” McGee said. “A lot of us stay in touch and send each other our newspapers, and it’s a really cool thing to be a part of”
“We get to rub elbows with some of the best programs in the country,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to be the best in the Fox Valley Conference, we’re trying to be the best in the country.”