JEA Conference Energizes Yearbook Staff

Amanda Young, Staff Writer

Yearbook staff members and adviser Paul Verbanszky attended a Journalism Education Association (JEA) Conference in San Francisco from April 12 to 14. The annual convention offered them an opportunity to learn from journalists and visual media reporters while participating in comprehensive workshops and tours.

This is the 1st year members of the yearbook class have attended the JEA event. “The JEA Conference only comes around to San Francisco every 6 to 8 years, so it travels around the country,” said Verbanszky.

“There were professional photographers from high end magazines teaching about photography, editors and writers from big magazines and newspapers, opportunities for students to engage with other students from other parts of the country, so we were able to really have great conversations with people from Arizona to Chicago,” Verbanszky said.

“The JEA Conference, it was amazing,” said junior Ally Scarpitti. “We got a lot of ideas from other schools about how to improve our current system and about how to improve our presence on campus.”

Freshman Belen Verduzco’s favorite part was getting to meet other people. “A lot of people went from all over the states, and we got to meet them and talk to them. And, they told us about what they do in their yearbook,” said Verduzco.

“I think [meeting other people] was really helpful. One of the workshops that I went to was led by a teacher in Ohio who has their number 1 journalism-yearbook program in the state,” said Scarpitti. “I actually emailed her for her presentation and she was super nice.”

At the conference, there were also “different kinds of classes” and workshops, according to Verduzco.

“There were presentations, and you got to move around every single hour to different kinds and you got to choose which one you wanted to go to,” said Verduzco. “If you wanted to do bonding, you’d go to a bonding one and you guys would play games. If you wanted to learn more about organization, they’d show you a slide presentation on how to organize [the yearbook.]”

“The most memorable part of it was a workshop on how to be a better editor and how to improve leadership within your class,” said Scarpitti.

One of the highlights for Verbanszky was the excitement he observed from his students. “Students were really surprised that it started at 8:00am and ended at 4:00pm and they were still jazzed and excited about the entire day. The sessions were so dynamic and passionate,” he said.

“[It was a] great opportunity. I wish we could do this more often for students,” Verbanszky added.