The bright lights and big city have a certain effect on communication students. The New York City trip to the College Media Association’s annual conference was not only a success for the lessons learned, but for the fun and firsts experienced.
Meg Davis comes bounding out of her session, “Top Chops 2”, a tutorial and test of skills. “You guys!” she hollers, “I just won ten bucks!” She is ecstatic. After her group had finished creating the best story lead from a fictitious account of a dead police officer, the four split a $40 prize.
“I think everyone should take this session, not just because I won some cash, but because it was a real test of my skills,” Davis said smiling.
Another first on the trip, at least for senior Jess Lawrenson, was a Broadway show.
“It was excellent!” she said, beaming. “I mean, it’s the second time I’ve seen “Chicago” this week … the school’s and on Broadway.” She said she’s been trying to get to a Broadway show for the past three years on the trip and finally managed to, albeit solo.
“You would have thought I would’ve been miserable,” she said laughing. “Sitting in the middle of New York City watching this show by myself, but I was actually just so excited to be there, I loved the show so much.”
“It’s sad to think we won’t be coming back.”
Unlike other years, arrival to this year’s conference for the nine students and their professor was on St. Patrick’s Day, in New York City, where a pretty well-known parade takes place.
The mobs were crazy, with everyone fighting their way through to 5th Avenue. Eventually, you give up and are resigned to having you’re upper body pushed all over while you’re feet attempt to stay grounded.
“It went from everyone’s happy and Irish to suddenly everyone hated each other,” said junior Anders Ax. He grimaces and laughs as he recalled the event saying “people were very emotionally unsound, I was uncomfortable.”
Talking about the trip on the van ride back to Castleton, senior Maria Arnot and others seemed inspired and introspective.
“Two of my favorite sessions were the New York Times reporter who started when he was only 22 – that was really inspiring – and the Keynote speakers from the Daily Show. Most of the presenters were pretty young so it made me more hopeful about this profession, especially since I’m graduating in May,” recalls senior, Maria Arnot.
Junior Hannah Messer echoed the same feeling of hope.
“The conference gave me a lot more confidence in my writing. I know I have things to work on, but not as much as I thought. It really showed me that this is the career I want,” she said.
Even the advisor of this group, David Blow, was inspired, despite saying that the fact that the conference is geared more toward students.
“We went to one session about covering student suicide. I was impressed that there was a presenter there from San Francisco who knew about our Brian Dagle issue (of the paper). That’s just the power of the media right now – someone can search for these issues, we come up and there’s a connection,” said Blow, who passed out copies of the issue to those attending the session.
The trip was a chance to make connections, soak up the culture and to ponder the place of a journalist amongst the backdrop of the city. It served to inspire and provoke the students, connect different communities and to prove that Spartans can conquer New York City, even on Saint Patrick’s Day.