Approximately 120 high school journalism students from 16 Central Florida schools converged on the Nicholson School of Communication (NSC) on Saturday, Oct. 27, for the annual Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA) Fall Workshop.
This is the ninth year the Nicholson School has played host to the workshop, which featured sessions on writing, interviewing, photography, page design, video production, advertising and leadership. The event was organized and put on by FSPA District 3 chairwoman Colleen Bennett, who teaches journalism at Oak Ridge High School in Orlando. NSC Journalism instructor Rick Brunson served as site host, representing the Nicholson School.
The annual event draws students who serve on their newspaper, yearbook and TV program staffs at their high schools and provides training from professionals in the fields of journalism and advertising/marketing.
The workshop also spotlights NSC alumni. This year’s keynote speaker was Lauren Black, a 2009 graduate of the NSC’s Radio-Television program who has become a successful country music blogger. Black and her website, CountryMusicIsLove.com, were selected by the organizers of this year’s Grammy Awards to be one of the official blogs covering the awards.
“Everything that I learned in high school and here at the Nicholson School – news writing and interviewing – helped me do something nontraditional with my journalism,’’ Black told the students during the opening session.
Another alumnus, Jeff Sharon, a 2005 graduate of the NSC’s Radio-Television program who now teaches at Full Sail University, returned to teach “The 20 Commandments of Producing Great Video’’ at the workshop.
“I have to admit it’s really funny for me and Rick Brunson to be trading places – with me in the front and him sitting in the back,’’ Sharon said. “But it’s an honor to be back here at UCF and to see how many young people really care about journalism.’’
Brunson co-taught a session on turning a journalism degree into a journalism career with NSC Journalism student Ana Cuello, who also works in the sports department at The Orlando Sentinel.
“Being ‘America’s leading partnership university’ isn’t just a slick marketing slogan,’’ Brunson said. “Hosting events like this gives us a chance to partner with local high schools to help them while also showcasing the facilities, programs, students and alumni of the Nicholson School. Some of these high school students will no doubt come back here to go to college because of this event.’’