Car horns battled for higher decibels and their engines revved and fell creating the distinct white noise of city life. The skyscrapers resembled mountains growing into the clouds as the dense fog and rain enfolded New York City. Nine Spartan staff members and their adviser had just made the four-and-a-half-hour drive and six block trek to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square on Saturday, March 13.It was the College Media Advisers Spring National Convention that took place from March 14-16. The convention contained three days of media seminars and workshops ranging from Interviewing in Depth to Playboy magazine and the president. Each student was required to attend six of the hour-long sessions to learn more about media.
Managing Editor Chad Cioffi and Sports Editor John Shramek attended the session that Cioffi said inspired them to revamp the Spartan’s Sports section and add the second page in the fall of 2009.
The speaker was professor Rob Marino of Central Florida Community College, the same man that inspired Cioffi and Shramek the year before. Marino said that it was his fifth year at the convention and his fourth teaching the sports section seminar.
“[The Convention] is getting better each year,” Marino said. “There are more sessions for online compatibility which I think is the future.”
Many advisers and speakers also said that media would be taking a more viral role in the future. Four other session speakers said that news was finding all new forms of media and journalism’s future was believed to be in the World Wide Web. Most speakers at the convention wanted to help the young journalists realize that news media isn’t dying; it was just reaching new plateaus.
Maria Arnot, one of the Spartan members, encountered both ends of the debate for journalism’s future.
“I went to one [seminar] with a person who had just gotten fired, and said [journalism] was like slave labor,” Arnot said. “But for the most part everyone was optimistic about journalism moving to the Web.”
Some of the students got to find a little peace from their mixed feelings of journalism’s future with a presentation from colorful Florida Atlantic University professor, Michael Koretzky, or as he preferred, “just Koretzky.” Koretzky taught a seminar on page re-design. He took pages from student newspapers at the convention and critiqued the design as well as headlines and photo choices. He would criticize the pages in comical fashion and show what should be done to make the page more interesting to readers and show his final product in his power-point presentation.
Koretzky warned the students filing in at the beginning of his presention that it was going to begin with full frontal nudity, and end with profanity – and it did. It started with a picture of naked protestor’s and ended with a scene from Pulp Fiction.
“If it’s gonna be my presentation, then damnit there’s gonna be pubic hair!” Koretsky exclaimed.
It was Koretzky’s fifth year at the convention and he said that he gets more and more bitter and profane as time goes on.
The next day hosted a keynote speaker from ABC Nightline’s, Terry Moran. Moran spoke about all the new and instant sources of media such as blogs, news outlets, web outlets, and tweets. All the new sources, Moran said, are the cause to journalism’s struggle.
“What counts as fact is what they prefer,” Moran said.
Then Moran spoke the words that many of the students were thinking.
“Journalism is dying,” Moran said as he explained that ABC is cutting 400 jobs.
But Moran would inspire the students with a challenge.
“Resist temptations of shouters and go discover a world as it is,” said Moran. “Discover the facts.
We’re living in a republic of noise that thrives on absolutist shouting and name-calling.”
Moran closed his inspiring speech with a statement that rang in the students’ ears.
“I greet you at the beginning of a great career,” Moran said.