Written by Deiana Hristov, Liza Kolbasov and Caroline Ro
Every year, the Journalism Educators Association of Northern California (JEANC) hosts NorCal Media, an opportunity for student journalists around the Bay Area to attend panels, swap publications, and listen to presentations by professional journalists. The theme this year was “Keeping It Real.”
The primary focus of the day is for students to attend different sessions hosted by students, advisers, and professionals. Sessions were 45 minutes long, and students could attend 3 sessions total. Students had opportunities to learn about technology and design (Intro to InDesign; Multimedia Tools), types of articles (Editorials: Take a Stand; Feature Writing Basics), and ethics (Dealing with Tragedy; How to Cover a Protest). This year, the sessions introduced new photography and reporting technologies to students. “360 video was really cool. Taking a video and uploading to Youtube or Facebook—you can get all the things happening around the person,” Monta Vista High School freshman Yu Fang Tseng said.
This year’s keynote presentation featured “Beyond the Life Jacket” by San Jose State students Sarah Klieves, Jessica Howell, Arooba Kazmi and Omar Perez about their trip to Greece and Italy to report on the refugees relocated there. “I wanted to use my platform to bring attention to something we don’t have a chance to go through,” Perez said. The students shared tips about reporting on sensitive topics. “We need to be aware that there were cultural differences, and that we were just coming in when these people were in the middle of a traumatic experience,” Klieves said.
Besides learning from advisers and experts, student journalists had the opportunity to learn from each other by swapping publications and mingling during the breaks and lunch period. “It’s cool that students can be inspired by their peers as well as learning from their speakers,” Palo Alto High School (Paly) junior Khadija Abid said. “[My favorite part is the] take one leave one table,” Paly junior Waverly Long said. During lunch, the students were treated to pizza and a live performance by the Gunn Jazz Band.