Monday, November 6, West High’s Yearbook staff and West Side Story staff attended the annual Journalism Conference held by the Tennessee High School Press Association. The conference was held in the Student Union Building at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Yearbook and West Side Story left West High at 7:40am and arrived at UT Knoxville at 8:30am, and then made their way to the Student Union Building. Several other middle and high school Yearbook and Newspaper staff teams were also in attendance, ranging from Sevier County to Hamblen County. The conference began at 9am, beginning with welcoming remarks from Dr. Courtney Childers, Dr. Jimmy McCollum, and Dr. Joseph P. Mazer. Shortly thereafter, Beth Haynes, a keynote speaker, gave a speech detailing her career in journalism while encouraging students interested in journalism to pursue it in college.
Hayden Antal, a CCI Content Manager for UT Knoxville, described the ways in which one can use different forms of media and design for storytelling. Following Antal’s presentation was Dr. Matthew Pittman, who detailed the ways in which staff teams can target and track audience responses using social media. McCollum followed up with a panel on the principals of yearbook design and how best to visually tell the story of the year while drawing readers in.
At 11:15am, the conference began a one hour lunch break, offering free boxed lunches. Though, all in attendance were permitted to venture to the University’s food court, which included a Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Rising Roll, and a Steak n’ Shake. The conference resumed at 12:15pm.
Austin Orr reopened the conference discussing student media, story ideas, managing contacts, and capturing images. Once Orr concluded, Rob Heller followed up with a more in depth look at photojournalism, explaining the complexities of professional camera settings, how best to take appropriate photos, the importance of different, new angles, and more. The conference concluded with one final panel from McCollum describing Yearbook trends from across the nation.
West High’s Yearbook and West Side Story staffs left UT Knoxville by 1:40pm and arrived back at West High at 2:30pm bearing new knowledge on how to improve their efforts and effectiveness.