On the first day of the MIPA journalism workshop, hundreds of MIPA student journalists from across the state, the country and even one student from another country, prepared to experience this year’s theme: Learn it. Live it. Love it. Many of them came here for ideas to transfer to their high school publications, others simply to spend time with friends. Still, many more came to learn and to explore a possible career in journalism.
Eleanor Alexander, a student at Olivet High School, said that this camp cemented in her decision to be a professional journalist and that feature writing was something that interested her.
“I really like feature writing. Hard news stories are a lot harder to write just because it’s just facts,” Alexander said. “In feature writing it’s more of a story that you’re telling; you can use a lot of quotes and it’s a lot [more fun] for me.”
Tricia Bobeda, multimedia coordinator at the MIPA workshop and who was also on the panel during Monday’s issues seminar, spoke on the amount of information that she received at MIPA as well as how many MIPA classes are preparing up-and-coming journalists for the skills that many employers are seeking for.
“I’ve learned more in classrooms at MIPA than I did during whole years of journalism school at college,” Bobeda said. “The teachers here understand not only how to work with high school students but what it’s like in the real world.”
Kimberly Childress, a student La Porte High School, is, like many at the MIPA workshop, unsure if journalism will be a career for her.
“I plan on writing in the future, but I don’t know if journalism is something that I want to do as a full-time job,” Childress said.
Based on a poll by members of the Upstart staff, only 25.4% of MIPA’s attendees want to pursue a career in journalism, but even though a career many not explicit involve anything journalistic, that doesn’t mean many of the skills taught on campus would be useless. Childress did learn valuable skills that she will be able to use in the future.
“I’ve learned how to write for newspapers so if I never need to write that kind of story like an article or something like that,” Childress said.
While there are student journalists that may have already decided on a career different than journalism or are unsure of their career plan, much of the material being covered in class is applicable to many different paths of life.
“The skills that a journalists needs are skills that are going to be successful in life,” Bobeda said. “You have to think critically, you have to question everything; you always have to check your sources, double check things, never believe things on face value. All those skills are going to be helpful in life in any job scenario.”