Nine hand-picked members of the The Spartan newspaper staff ventured to New York City last week to attend the 2017 College Media Association journalism conference.
This three-day trip was to reward the staff members for all their hard work on the newspaper, but also for them to learn more about where and how to find their place the news media world.
The trip was organized by professor Dave Blow, who advises the newspaper. This was Blow's 10th year taking students to the CMA conference. He said he mostly loves hearing what the students learned during the sessions and how they can apply that to the Castleton newspaper and life.
"I like to kind of see and hear the wheels turning in the heads of students after they've gone to sessions," he said.
Students from colleges and universities all over the country congregated to attend panels and lectures, where they could learn about elements of running a college newspaper and getting jobs in the journalism-media business.
“This year’s CMA was truly the best I have been to in the years I’ve attended,” said senior Jimmy Britt, “Each session I went to taught me something new, but it was the 'Digging Deeper’ session that truly opened my eyes and made my passion for journalism grow.”
It gave tips on how to investigate and report on crime, housing and suicide, he said.
“The lesson was geared toward investigating on campus, but what I learned can be translated into a professional journalism job,” he said.
But senior and Castleton Spartan editor Jadie Dow, said she feels the conference didn't give her much direction for the real world media business.
"I would have to say that my least favorite part was that most of it is tailored to college media, and I'm graduating so I would like more information about things to do after," she said.
But fellow senior Catherine Twing did find a session that dealt with life after CU.
“I liked the session on what to do post-grad. The speaker was very negative, but she said not to take a job you know you will hate if you have other options that you will enjoy more even if the enjoyable jobs pay a little less,” she said.
Twing also remembered the speaker mentioning that your dream job isn’t a place, but a feeling and somewhere you can be passionate, which also resonated with her.
“The best one I went to was about accessing public records," said Dow looking back on her last sessions. "It sounds super boring, but it was very useful since journalists need them all the time."
Along with the hours spent taking in as much information as possible in the sessions, the journalists also earned a fair amount of free time to roam the city.
While some went to see “CATS” on Broadway, others took the subway down to Madison Square Garden for the Big East basketball final and checked out a comedy club close to the hotel.
“My favorite part of the trip was getting to know everyone better outside of class and ‘Spartan’ meetings,” said junior reporter Nicole Webster. “I feel like I went into this trip not knowing anyone very well and after spending three days together I learned a lot about everyone.”
After most of the sessions were over and the trip was nearing the end, the one last hoorah was a dinner at Forlini’s Italian restaurant downtown.
"I love the big dinner," Blow said, "seeing everybody together and rewarding students for working hard and hopefully getting to teach them something, (at the conference) and I always learn something too."
Twing agrees that by being with a group of people who are all going after a similar goal, it helps the friendships grow.
“My favorite part was bonding with other students on out staff and getting to talk about our lives and how we feel about classes and the challenges of job hunting,” she said.
This is Britt’s last semester working for “The Spartan” and his last CMA trip to New York City. However, he feels honored to have been a part of this experience alongside “such talented and determined people.”
“Though I enjoyed learning at the conference from professionals all over the country, it was the connections I made to my fellow reporters that truly tied my experience together,” Britt said. “I would meet with others from the paper for sessions, have dinner with them and just enjoy their company. I felt like we had become a true-to-life staff.”